Thousands protest Wisconsin Governor’s proposals

More than 15,000 people, including public employees, union activists and community supporters, jammed into the Capitol Square in Madison, Wis., yesterday to protest Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) plan to strip away state workers’ rights and decimate family-supporting middle-class jobs. Some 3,000 massed inside the Capitol building where a hearing on the bill was under way.

Many of those at yesterday’s rally camped overnight and are continuing their vigil today.

Public workers and their allies held other protests around Wisconsin. Some 1,000 people gathered outside Walker’s suburban Milwaukee home carrying signs that read “Stop the Attack on Workers’ Rights.”

AFSCME President Gerald McEntee told the cheering crowd in Madison:

For 75 years, we’ve fought to make our voices heard, and we’re not going to be silenced today. We’re not going to let this happen, We won’t let him break the back of the middle class of Wisconsinites. We are strong. We are united.

Walker vows that he will not negotiate any changes to his plan and if the state legislature doesn’t pass it, he will force massive layoffs, crippling state services and costing thousands of jobs.

Many of the signs compared Walker’s actions to ousted Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak’s iron rule of Egypt, including “Hosni Walker,” “Don’t Dictate, Negotiate,” and “Dictators Will Fall.” (Check out Washington Post columnist Harold Meyerson’s “Wisconsin Pharaoh Tries to Silence Unions” here.)

Walker’s attack on workers’ rights are part of his budget plan. Says AFSCME member and highway worker Arlyn Halvorson:

It’s one thing to do fiscal business and it’s another to do political business and take people’s rights away.

Mike Oliver, a retired member of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

I am here to support my fellow union members. I am all for the governor balancing the budget, but not on the backs of state workers.

Wisconsin was the first state in the nation to grant public employees collective bargaining rights. Wisconsin AFL-CIO President Phil Neuenfeldt says Walker is “using the Trojan horse of a budget bill” to change the long-standing state workers’ rights policy.  He also says that Walker’s plan will hit at the private sector as well.

This is an attack not just on unions, but the entire middle class. Because as we fare around wages and benefits, so do those workers who are not represented.

Along with eliminating collective bargaining rights, Walker’s budget plan also calls for big pay and benefit cuts for state workers. A report by the Institute for Wisconsin’s Future released Monday estimates the cuts in take-home pay will cost the state $1.1 billion in reduced economic activity annually and cost some 9,000 private sector jobs.

From the AFL-CIO blog.

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6 Responses

  1. Much better to accept the layoffs which will be temporary at best than to give up everything you have gained over the decades. America is behind you.

  2. Stop been ignorant ask you union gumpa’s how much they make a year and have them disclose all their perks it is time that public employees pay the same that we the people pay enough is enough

    • I support Gov. Walker 100%. The unions were necessary at one time but, are bankrupting the country now. What are the salaries of the union leaders? To check out teachers salaries, go to Wisconsin Teachers Salaries and then click on

  3. I agree with Governor Walkers Budget Repair Bill and am sickened by the tactics the state unions are taking. The bill will pass and the silent majority in this state that elected Governor Walker will prevail and take back our once great state.

    All in my neighborhood and at work, except a handful, are for the bill. You will see a backlash against unions like never before after us private sector workers have seen you recent actions.

    This has been a long time coming.

  4. […] Thousands protest Wisconsin Governor’s proposals ( […]

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