Protesters hold signs outside the Wisconsin Capitol. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

After weeks of public debate and protests, Wisconsin public employees have suffered a devastating loss. The Huffington Post reports:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker succeeded Friday in taking away nearly all collective bargaining rights from the vast majority of the state's public employees, quietly capping weeks of contentious debate and delivering an epic defeat to the labor movement with a private bill signing.

The proposal has touched off a national debate over labor rights for public employees, and its implementation is a key victory for Republicans who have targeted unions in nationwide efforts to slash government spending. But labor leaders said they plan to use the setback to fire up their members nationwide and mount a major counterattack against Republicans at the ballot box in 2012.

The state Senate managed to pass the bill without the Democratic senators Wednesday night, and the state Assembly voted in favor of the measure on Thursday.

How will this affect the black middle class? Even more seriously than you might think. Read Lynette Holloway's explanation on The Root of how gutting unions disproportionately affects African-American workers.

Advertisement

Read more at the Huffington Post.

In other news: Tsunami Hits Hawaii, U.S. West Coast.