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Wisconsin law curbs union dues, certification

From NBC's John Yang
The new Wisconsin law that limits public workers' collective-bargaining rights delivers big blows to public-service unions in two other ways: It ends the system for automatically deducting union dues from workers' paychecks and requires the unions to be certified as the workers' representation each year.

Those are the provisions Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) likely had in mind when he told Fox News: "If we win this battle, and the money is not there under the auspices of the unions, certainly what you're going to find is President Obama is going to have a much more difficult time getting elected and winning the state of Wisconsin."

It's illustrative to see what happened to public worker unions -- and the dues they collect -- in Indiana, where Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels ended public-worker collective-bargaining rights in 2005 (he acted by executive order -- not legislation -- since those rights were put in place by an executive order by Democratic Gov. Evan Bayh). Before 2005, 16,408 Indiana state workers paid union dues out of about 25,000 who were eligible, a union membership rate of about 66 percent. Today, the figure is 1,409 out of about 20,000 eligible workers, or 7 percent.