Large crowds gathered in and outside of the Capitol building today to protest Gov. Walker’s budget bill. The controversy surrounding the bill pertains to the limitations that would be placed on the state’s unions to collectively bargain for wages and benefits. The bill would effectively terminate the collective bargaining power of the state’s unions. Estimates place the crowd size between 10,000-12,000 demonstrators making it one of the largest such demonstrations in recent memory. This included members from AFSCME, AFL-CIO, SEIU, and various trade unions. Members of the firefighters union, who are exempt from the proposal, also attended and received a raucous ovation from those in attendance along with approximately 800 students from Madison East High School. Protests are also being planned for the coming days with members of the teacher’s union planning a “sick-in” for tomorrow. Protesters are hoping that their actions will sway leaning members in Senate to vote against the initiative which Senate President Mike Ellis (R-Neenah) says has enough votes to pass.
The scope and appeal of the protests and budget plan have reached beyond the borders of Wisconsin grabbing attention in national headlines. Governor Walker plans to unveil his budget next Tuesday in Madison. At the time of this post there were efforts to conduct a “citizen filibuster” well into the night as well as a gathering of protesters outside of Gov. Walker’s family home in Wauwatosa with hope of defeating the measure.
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