Pamela J. Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona
[tnivideo caption=”Thousands protest anti-union bill” credit=”Associated Press”]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AbeAcTiFFc&feature=player_embedded[/tnivideo]
In the past week, the mainstream corporate media has been busily reporting on anti-government protesters in Egypt, Iran, and Yemen– while ignoring anti-government/pro-union protesters in Wisconsin.
Last week, Wisconsin’s newly-elected Republican Governor Scott Walker proposed welching on union contracts with state workers and stripping public employee unions of collective bargaining rights.
Protests in Wisconsin swell to 30,000
Protests by union workers and supporters started almost immediately– even though Walker threatened to call out the National Guard.
On Tuesday, there were 12,000-15,000 protesters at the capitol in Wisconsin. By Wednesday, there were 30,000 protesters— and the action was finally covered by National Public Radio— even though liberal talk show host Ed Schultz had been covering action live via call-ins from protesters in Wisconsin for days and is broadcasting his show from Madison on Thursday (locally on 1330 AM, The Jolt).
From The Nation…
In some senses, Wednesday’s remarkable rally began Tuesday evening, when Madison Teachers Inc., the local education union, announced that teachers would leave their classrooms to spend the day lobbying legislators to “Kill the Bill” that has been proposed by newly-elected Republican Governor Scott Walker.
The teachers showed up en masse in downtown Madison Wednesday morning.
And then something remarkable happened.
Instead of taking the day off, their students gathered at schools on the west and east sides of Madison and marched miles along the city’s main thoroughfares to join the largest mass demonstration the city has seen in decades – perhaps since the great protests of the Vietnam War era.
Thousands of high school students arrived at the Capital Square, coming from opposite directions, chanting: “We support our teachers! We support public education!”
Thousands of University of Wisconsin students joined them, decked out in the school’s red-and-white colors.
Buses rolled in from every corner of the state, from Racine and Kenosha in the southeast to Green Bay in the northeast, from La Crosse on the Mississippi River to Milwaukee on Lake Michigan.
Buses and cars arrived from Illinois and Minnesota and as far away as Kansas, as teachers and public employees from those states showed up at what American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union president Gerald McEntee says is “ground zero “in the struggle for labor rights in America.
The moms and dads of the elementary school kids came, and the kids, carrying hand-lettered signs:
“I love my teacher!”
“Scott Walker needs to go back to school!”
“Scott Walker needs a time out!”
And, “We are Wisconsin!
“I’ve been here since the 1960s, I’ve seen great demonstrations,” said former Mayor Paul Soglin, a proud former student radical who was nominated for a new term in Tuesday’s local primary election. “This is different. This is everyone – everyone turning out.”
Everyone except the governor, who high-tailed it out of town, launching a tour of outlying communities in hopes of drumming up support for his bill. Most of the support Walker was getting was coming from national conservative political groups, such as the Club for Growth, which have long hoped to break public-employee unions. But the governor held firm, saying after a day of unprecedented protests – in Madison and small towns and cities across the state – that he still wanted to pass his bill. He’s got strong support in the overwhelmingly Republican Assembly. But he cannot afford to lose one more Republican state senator. And the unions and their backers are determined to find that one Republican who is smart enough and honest enough to recognize that the governor’s assault of public employees is an assault on Wisconsin itself.
The state’s largest teachers union, the Wisconsin Education Association Council has called on its 98,000 members to come to rally in their hometowns and then come to the Capitol. “All citizens of Wisconsin should come to Madison!” reads the call. Tens of thousands will come. The state, county and municipal employees will come. The nurses will come. The small business owners will come. The parents and students will come. They will ask the question: “What’s disgusting?” And they will answer with a roar: “Union busting!”
Reporting from the Ed Schultz show on Thursday morning, John Nichols from The Nation said police and firefighters’ unions have joined the students, teachers, and other public union members in protesting the governor’s union-busting efforts. He said, there are no longer union workers and non-union workers– just workers.
Although Wisconsin Republicans have the votes to rubber-stamp Walker’s radical anti-union proposals, there are signs that some are wavering.
At the time of this writing on Thursday, all Democrats have walked out of the Wisconsin capitol building before the union-busting bill could be voted on; Republican lawmakers need the Democrats to have a quorum and a vote. TalkingPointsMemo reports that the state police may be called in to round up the Democrats.
Protests spread to Ohio
Also on Thursday morning, pro-union protests spread to the Ohio capitol; Ohio’s newly-elected Republican Governor John Kasich has proposed union-busting measures, similar to that of Wisconsin’s governor.
Kasich has proposed ending collective bargaining and replacing negotiated salaries with merit raises. Thousands of workers representing multiple public employee unions showed up in the Columbus capitol building to hear the debate.
Ed Schultz’s MSNBC television show will be broadcast from Madison, Wisconsin on Thursday night.
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Media is not ignoring it, even fox network is trying to spin it positively by saying governor of Wisconsin has police looking for the 14 missing democrats who failed to show up to vote with his 19 majority GOP legislators! 🙂 30,000 angry folks, one might be seeing a GOP dictator and his merry band of 19 resigning, fleeing in terror if the national guard refuses to save them! 🙂 I think the other arrogant GOP state governors ought to take carefull attention to what angry citizens are capable of if one makes them angry! 🙂 The GOP have over played their arrogance and their fake compassionate conservatism is not digesting well for the 98% of us, the reality is only 2% do they really really cater too, and of course them corporations which are non human entitities often run and profited from by the 2% richest in America! I venture a guess many arrogant GOP elite are wondering if they might be asked to leave soon in a “Egyptian moment”! 🙂
You are a sad person.
On the New York Times online front page this afternoon, there are 8 stories about protests in Yemen, Lybia, Iraq, Iran and/or Bahrain + a video from Bahrain. There is one story (below all of these) on Wisconsin and nothing about the protest in Ohio. I rest my case.
Those public employees pay little for their own retirement and nothing for their HMO. (if I am wrong on those figures then I will stand corrected)
Az Stae employees pay 7% during their working life and pay for their own HMO. When they retire their HMO payments go up 10 times. I know I am one of those people.
Angry mobs often get incited by folks with hidden agendas like the “tea party” was incited by the GOP elite, reminds me of the French Revolution, those who started it ended on the same scaffolds facing the gullitine as those aristocrates they sent before them! I am merely a observer, but seems to me something is happening, Florida Governor the tea party darling, crooked businessman has his GOP and Democrat legislators cicumnavigating him by going to DC to try and get them fast rail funds he refused to accept, seems to me the GOP/Teapublicans have over played their imaginary majority!
Who is calling these Wisconsin protesters “angry mobs”? FOX? I have listened to 3 days of reporting from the protest on the Ed Schultz Radio Show, and no one has referred to them as angry mobs.
In fact, the police have commended them on their exemplary behavior. No one can manage a crowd like a teacher.
The weak elitists in the GOP have a tiger by the tail, the tea party/teapublicans and cannot let go least they get ate! 🙂 The GOP/Teapublicans number only about 20% of the national electorate, they have fooled many to believe they have the solutions to our nations woes, economic issues, but mobs are fickle if not pacified they tend to get angry and blame everyone! 🙂
If only we had enough Democrats in the AZ state house & senate to block a quorum and a vote on the Republican nonsense. We don’t have enough tax revenue to balance the budget so what do they do? Cut taxes even more for their corporate patrons, of course.
So you support filibuster powers in the Senate?
Signs that include the word ” KILL” tells me what I need to know about the union.
I am excited that the unions are exploiting the children, having them out in the street instead of school — we are making progress on becoming a third world country.
I agree, but it’s not the Democrats that are pushing us there. By the way, a Missouri Republican wants to loosen the restrictions on child labor.
1 million tea partiers show up and it is ignored by the media.
Just when things look very dark in this country, along comes a reason for hope. Thanks for reporting on this. It brightens my day a little.
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Meanwhile in our own city, entire schools of teachers are fired without regard to individual performance and no one really gives a crap.
>Meanwhile in our own city, entire schools of teachers are fired without regard to individual performance and no one really gives a crap.
Agreed, except that I think there are more who give a crap than is recognized – I personally would love to contribute to a recall election
So where is all the huffing about the angry white people, brandishing hateful, threatening signs and swarming around the Wisconsin Capitol?
Oh. They’re Liberals. So it’s all right.
See why liberalism is dying, and why Humanist-indoctrinated teachers unions are going to be busted?
They are showing the difference between petulant public servants, demanding more money, and Tea Party Patriots, demanding a return to responsibility and Constitutional limits.
Dinosaur media is having trouble coming up with a narrative that puts the teachers unions and fraudulant doctors in a positive light.
Watching liberalism die. What fun!