A record number of Wisconsin's government employees retired in 2011, the same year Governor Scott Walker (R) pushed a law that took away the collective bargaining rights of public employees and forced them to contribute more to their health care and pensions.
The Wisconsin state pension fund received 18,780 retirement applications from employees of state agencies, school districts and local governments in 2011, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. That's up from an average of about 10,500 in each of the previous seven years.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds, the record increase could be a reaction to the anti-union law, as well as a result of an aging workforce that chose not to retire in the last few years because of the bad economy.
Walker's introduction of his budget repair bill led to political unrest, with thousands of workers staging ongoing protests against the bill in the Wisconsin capital. President Obama even spoke out against the bill, calling it an "assault on unions."
The protests against the bill led to nine recall elections, with six Republican and three Democratic state senators facing challenges. Walker is currently facing the threat of a recall election himself that could carry a price tag of up to $17 million.
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