Public-employee unions, which represent somewhat over one-third of the nation's 21 million government workers, have come under pointed attacks in several states. Republican governors in Wisconsin and Ohio won passage of laws to limit the scope of collective bargaining between unions and government agencies. They say the moves are needed to bring workers' pay under control to help ease state and local budget deficits. Union leaders and their Democratic allies say the measures take away workers' rights for the purpose of reducing unions' political influence. The legislative battles have touched off broad debates about whether government workers are overpaid. Most economists say government workers' wages and salaries are generally not out of line, but benefits and pensions are often more generous than those in the private sector. Unfunded pension liabilities are a looming problem for many states, and governors of both parties are calling for changes to trim the costs.