Is the cost cutting anti-union? Or, anti-women, too? of WISCONSIN nurses take part in a protest march.Is Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s goal of busting the state’s public unions—also an attack on women’s rights? Mainly, we’ve heard about how Walker’s controversial cost-cutting campaign is aimed at the collective-bargaining power of the employees of state and local governments—but the impact falls disproportionately on women.

Joanne Bamberger of Politics Daily writes, “I don’t want to see a conspiracy where there isn’t one, but as some politicians push to cut reproductive and economic rights for women, it’s hard not to view other efforts that would disproportionately impact women through that same lens of attack. So when labor statistics suggest that moves to weaken unions at the state and local level would impact women more than men, it’s tough not to judge Gov. Scott Walker’s (R-Wis.) apparent union-busting crusade as anything other than the latest swipe at American women.”

At the local level, there’s no doubt that women will be impacted more than men. Women are 61% of public sector employment at this level, according to data from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Just over half (52%) of public sector employees at the state level are women. The occupations most affected by Republican union busting (or, depending on your view, budget balancing) are those disproportionately held by women. These occupations include, for example, elementary and middle school teachers, teacher assistants, secretaries and administrative assistants.  The occupations that would be spared are those disproportionately held by men, such as police, sheriff’s patrol officers, and firefighters.

Do you agree with Bamberger? Please, click to Comment below and tell us what you think:

Is the drive to weaken public unions also aimed at women?

Or, is this just tough but responsible budget balancing?

(Originally published at, an online experiment in civil dialogue on American values.)

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