Bad news for Bernie Sanders' back yard.By Michael Arria / AlterNet
Vermont, a state perceived as a liberal utopia by many, is being hit with a barrage of anti-labor policies. In a recent budget address, Gov. Peter Shumlin called out Vermont State Employees' Association, declaring he expected VSEA to reopen its contracts to ditch pay increases. The governor also announced that he plans to hack away at state jobs by consolidating emergency call centers and closing a school that serves state prisoners. In addition, he said that Vermont parents should “expect better outcomes for our students at lower costs.” He’s called for education cuts and higher student-teacher ratios, moves that will probably result in layoffs. This past fall, he announced he wants to outlaw teacher strikes in the state. That idea might soon become a reality: a bill prohibiting public school teachers from striking was recently introduced by Republican Rep. Kurt Wright and passed the House Education Committee by a vote of 8-3.