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State employee unions? Not in a lot of states

Whenever Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour has asked lawmakers to weaken benefits for state employees, his proposals have met little resistance from workers. Mississippi is among those states — many in the South — where most government employees do not have the right to collective bargaining, the benefit that has caused a political upheaval in Wisconsin and has become a national flashpoint for those who argue that public employee benefits are too generous. Those states provide a snapshot of what life is like for government employees who do not have the same union clout that workers in Wisconsin and some other
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As usual, rhetoric overwhelms facts in Wisconsin debate

The facts have been overshadowed by rhetoric at the Wisconsin Capitol, where protesters and politicians have been engaged in a tense standoff over the governor’s proposal to strip most public employees of their collective-bargaining rights. Gov. Scott Walker insists the state is broke and must make drastic spending cuts. Unions believe Republican leaders are trying to wipe them out. Two weeks into the debate, The Associated Press assessed the claims in an effort to shed light on what’s at stake. Walker says his plan is needed to ease a deficit that is projected to hit $137 million by July and
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