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Chicago Teachers Union Backs Wisconsin Protests

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Wisconsin Protest

Teachers protest at the Wisconsin State Capitol. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS/WBBM) – The Chicago Teachers Union says it is fully in sympathy with Madison, Wis., teachers who have closed schools there for two days in a row.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s John Cody reports, CTU staff coordinator Jackson Potter calls the Wisconsin legislation a radical frontal attack on the rights of teachers to affect the educational environment for students.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s John Cody reports

The proposal by Republican Gov. Scott Walker calls for all collective bargaining rights to be removed for state employees effective July 1, except with regard to wages. But any salary increase could not be higher than the consumer price index unless voters approve otherwise, the Huffington Post reports.

All contracts would be limited to one year, with no raises between contracts. Public employees would not be allowed to collect union dues, the Huffington Post reported.

Police and firefighter unions would be exempt.

Potter says he does not see any similar proposals coming to Illinois.

“I think that it’s different here because we were able to elect – one of the few states to elect a Democratic governor who’s responsive to the needs of children, and because of the tax increase, he doesn’t have the same budgetary restraints as Indiana or Wisconsin, so I don’t think we’re going to see that same virulent attack on teachers,” Potter said.

Potter says the union certainly would be favor joining teachers in Madison to show their support, should the walkout there continue.

Schools remain closed in Madison Friday, and also in Janesville, Wisconsin Dells and other districts around Wisconsin. In the state’s largest school district in Milwaukee, more than 600 of the 5,400 public school teachers called in sick over the protests.

Teachers also demonstrated for a third day Thursday night at the state Capitol in Madison. Thousands of protesters came to the demonstration.

“They’re tearing our teachers apart,” one woman said.

Republicans hope to advance the measure Friday, but that could tough. All 14 Democratic state senators left Wisconsin Thursday to delay a vote.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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