Blogger Doug Ross, as usual, has assembled all the key facts of the historical background to the showdown in Wisconsin in one handy place.
"Throughout American history -- and as recently as the 1950s -- there were no unions for government workers," Ross writes. "Public-sector employees were expected to earn a bit less than their private-sector equivalents. The reasons they did so included an interest in public service, job security and reasonable benefits."
But then along came New York Mayor Robert Wagner, who recognized a political gold mine in Gotham's huge city workforce. It was an irresistible temptation.
The story since then, especially after 1962 when President Kennedy signed an executive order allowing federal civil servants to organize unions with limited collective bargaining rights. For the rest of the story from Ross, go here.