Nightly News | February 22, 2011
>>> we turn to wisconsin , where the state legislature took up a bill that would strip some state worker's labor unions of their collective bargaining rights and then some. the stand-off on this issue is far from over. nbc's mike taibbi reports tonight from madison .
>> a special session of the senate. the senate will come to order.
>> reporter: the state senate called its session to order for the first time in a week. with senate democrats hiding out of state and only participating by conference call , governor scott walker 's bill to roll back union benefits and rights would not get a vote.
>> they're trying to shut down government. that's literally what they're trying to do.
>> reporter: the protester's still ringing the capital building and jamming its corridors say it's the governor who's trying to shut down organized labor .
>> i think he's trying to break the unions, he's taking rights away from other people, and he's hurting the middle class .
>> reporter: walker's answer on msnbc's morning joe , he had no choice.
>> just like nearly every state across the country, we are broke. i cannot negotiate for something where i don't have anything to give.
>> reporter: in fact, the tactics used by both sides in madison are being copied elsewhere. today there were prounion protests in ohio, michigan and massachusetts. in indiana, democratic legislators left the state to avoid voting just like their wisconsin counterparts. it's logical to assume a trend has emerged. until now, 45 states, all but five southern states allow or require collective bargaining for teacher unions, today nine states are considering eliminating that right all together, wisconsin showing the way.
>> it's come to a head, where we're not going to see benefits any more for public employees, at least not in wisconsin .
>> reporter: governor walker says if his budget relief bill isn't voted on and passed by this friday, layoff notices for as many as 1,500 state workers could be sent out as early as next week. brian?
>> a hot time continues in the cold of madison , wisconsin . mike taibbi on it for us tonight. mike, thanks.