On February 17, a crowd of approximately twenty-five thousand peacefully rallied at the Wisconsin State Capitol building in protest of a bill that would cripple the collective bargaining rights of public unions.
The bill, put forth by Gov. Scott Walker (R) would slash benefits and freeze wages. The one flexibility in Walker’s bill would allow unions to bargain wages but only up to the Consumer Price Index. Wisconsin is the birthplace of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, one of the nation’s largest labor unions.
The push against Walker’s bill has been significant both inside and outside the capitol building. A rally at the state capitol building the previous day had an estimated thirty thousand people in attendance. Public schools are closed for the second day running as teachers call in sick and students walk out. Wisconsin democrats fled the statehouse in an effort to prevent legislators from reaching a quorum and passing the bill.
If Walker’s bill is passed, the precedent it would set for other conservative Governors looking to go after collective bargaining rights would be monumental. Gov. Scott Walker will not give up, hinting that the National Guard may be dispatched to retrieve some “fugitive” democrats. The bill can not be passed if there is not a single democrat in the chamber. Protestors have vowed to continue to rally.
Do not go quietly, Wisconsin Madmen.