Wisconsin: Huge Protest Today To Be Bookmarked by "Tractorcade" and "Homecoming" For Dems
Today's protest in Wisconsin, beginning right now, will last all day and potentially attract the biggest crowd yet.
The highlight of the morning for many is a "tractorcade" in which 30-50 disgruntled farmers, angry about Governor Walker's budget bill, plan to drive their tractors through the Madison streets in an organized parade. They are not just protesting the union-busting measures, but also the entire budget cuts that will decimate local programs including health care subsidies. Many farming communities are also closely tied to local schools.
Monroe County dairy farmer Joel Greeno works 90 to 100 hours a week. He and his wife, who works at a Wal-Mart distribution center, have a 4-year-old daughter and are expecting their second child at the end of April. Despite the fact that both are working, they qualify for health-care coverage through the state-funded BadgerCare program.
"It's just sad," says Greeno, 44. "I work hard and my wife works for one of the largest corporations in the world. Where we are right now scares me."
Republican Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill, which he signed into law Friday, and his recently released budget proposal haven't exactly eased Greeno's mind. In the name of narrowing the state's projected $3.6 billion budget deficit, Walker has proposed sweeping changes to Medicaid-funded programs including BadgerCare, cuts in state aid to public schools by nearly $834 million and a $96 million cut in aid to local governments, including cities, towns and counties.
Later in the day, there will be a teachers' rally and a "homecoming" rally with the recently-returned "Wisconsin 14," the state senators who went on the lam to delay Walker from taking action. Although their gambit couldn't stop the union-busting, it did allow the movement in Wisconsin to organize, get its message out, and gain public support, and build momentum for the recall drive.
Stay tuned to AlterNet for updates and photos later today.
UPDATE: Here are some photos via the #wiunion twitter hashtag: