Thousands in Wisconsin Protest GOP Governor’s War on Unions

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Here’s video from Steve Hanson’s blog, “Uppity Wisconsin” (Progressive News from the Cheddarsphere). Steve shot this yesterday in Madison, where over 10,000 protesters gathered at the State Capitol to protest measures in Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s Budget Repair Bill that would eliminate collective bargaining rights for public employees. Proponents say the measures are necessary to prevent government employee layoffs and cuts to BadgerCare. But opponents believe the measures are an assault on 50 years of collective bargaining tradition in the great state of Wisconsin.

John Nichols of The Nation on Sunday compared Walker to a “Dictator Governor”.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s proposal to strip public employees of most collective bargaining rights, cut pay and gut benefits without any negotiation represents the most radical assault yet by the current crop of Republican governors on the rights of workers has inspired outrage in a historically progressive and pro-labor state.

With unions calling on members an allies to “fight back” against a “blatant power grab,” tensions are running so high that the governor, who took office in January, is threatening to call out the National Guard in case of industrial action by state, county and municipal employees. “Even if you don’t like unions,” says Rich Abelson, executive director of AFSCME Council 48, the union that represents Milwaukee County workers, “surely we all can agree that anti-freedom attacks that deny public employees the right to negotiate a fair contract…are outrageous and wrong.”

Jacob Wheeler

In addition to shooting videos for The UpTake, Jacob Wheeler is a contributing editor at the progressive political magazine In These Times, publishes the Glen Arbor Sun in his native Michigan, and authored "Between Light and Shadow," a recent book about the Guatemalan adoption industry. Wheeler's stories have appeared in such magazines as the Utne Reader, Earth Island Journal, Rotarian and Teaching Tolerance magazine, and newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle and Christian Science Monitor. He speaks fluent Spanish, German and Danish.

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