The nation's focus this week is on Madison, Wisconsin, where public employees and their supporters crowded the State Capitol, city streets and plazas to protest Governor Scott Walker’s attempt to destroy public sector unions under the guise of solving the state’s budget woes.
Both outside and inside the State Capitol building, throngs of protesters demonstrated for days with chants of “kill this bill!” and “Walker must go!” This YouTube video captures the last half of IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger's address to a crowd of more than 25,000 at the Wisconsin Capitol Square in Madison, Wisconsin February 17.
"Collective bargaining is being challenged in state legislatures in Ohio, Oklahoma, Iowa...this is about the right that wants to take us down," said Schaitberger. "They may have us on our heels but we are going to fight back and we will prevail!"
The measure, which includes provisions to strip public employees of their collective bargaining rights, had been moving quickly through the Wisconsin state legislature on its way to Governor Walker’s desk. The legislation came to a halt when State Senate Democrats left Madison to avoid participating in the anti-union budget bill. That move left the Senate without the minimum of 20 members required to act on legislation.