Protests Against Wisc. Governer's Cold-Blooded Proposal Pick Up Steam

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's plan to push back labor rights to the 19th century continued to backfire today, with Wisconsin schools shutting down as a result of a widespread teachers' strike. The Wisconsin State Journal (via TPM)reports:

District Superintendent Dan Nerad made the announcement at 11 p.m. Tuesday after 40 percent of the 2,600 members of the teachers union had called in sick and more were expected to do so.

"At this ratio we have serious concerns about our ability to maintain safe and secure school environments," Nerad said in the announcement.

Thursday, Walkerannounceda budget-cutting proposal that would strip most public employees of their collective bargaining powers. The Republican Governor then threatened to sic the National Guard on state workers, an obvious choice in the absence of Pinkertons I guess. Since then, thousands of demonstrators have flooded the Capitol to protest the bill. The Journal reports: 

Cheers erupted every time someone in the hearing voiced opposition to the governor's bill, aimed at erasing a $137 million deficit in the current budget. Unveiled Friday, Walker's plan would remove collective bargaining rights for most of the 175,000 state and local government employees, allowing most workers to negotiate only over salary. 

Walker, however, exempted most law enforcement, firefighters and Wisconsin State Patrol troopers from the change. On Tuesday, members of the firefighters union received a loud ovation from the crowd outside the Capitol as they marched through the rally, holding signs displaying solidarity with their fellow state and local employees.

"What's good for one of us is good for all of us," said Russell Griswold, a retired electrician from West Allis. Griswold worked as a union electrician for 46 years and has a nice retirement thanks to unions, he said. He came out Tuesday because he is afraid those who follow him will not enjoy the same benefits.

As Digby writes,

The good news is that Americans rarely get off their couches unless there's a big sale at the mall, but this fine fellow seems to have found the formula to get it done. And it's pretty inspirational. Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Algeria, Wisconsin ... the US?

AlterNet / By Tana Ganeva

Posted at February 16, 2011, 11:47am