Chicago Workers Head To Wisconsin For Protest

UPDATED 02/21/11 11:11 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (CBS) — Some Chicago workers headed to Wisconsin Monday morning to join the protest against Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to strip collective bargaining rights from most public employees.

As CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports, the crowd was about four dozen strong as of 6 a.m. Led by local union leaders, the protesters were boarding two large buses to Madison.

By the time they arrived, there were at least 120 Chicago union members holding signs in the state capitol, along with 2,000 other protesters.

Walker presents the move as necessary, given the state’s budget woes.

“For us, this is about balancing the budget,” he said. “We’ve got a $3.6 billion budget deficit. We’re broke. Just like every other state across the country, we’re broke.”

But workers have been protesting since last week. They call it an assault on workers’ rights and an attempt to bust the union.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports

“I think it’s very important to go to Wisconsin and support those teachers serving in Wisconsin,” said Sharon, a member of the Chicago Teachers Union. “I feel that if they lose their collective bargaining rights, we have no rights at all as teachers.”

Scott Marshall, a retired member of the United Steel Workers, said democracy itself is at stake.

“This is really a question of democracy,” Marshall said. “It’s supposed to be basic for democracy that people have the freedom of association. That’s what collective bargaining is.”

Marshall added that even though many workers do not belong to unions, organized labor sets standards for the rights of workers across the board.

“If they bust the union, they lose all of these people,” he said.

In the capitol, Sheet Metal Workers Local 73 president and business manager Rocco Terranova warned that “we have to be here to stick together for all our brothers and sisters,” or else state governments could soon be neutering unions across the country.

Walker’s plan 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.

Critics say that the budget crisis in Wisconsin is not as severe as Walker claims. In an op-ed published last week, the Madison Cap Times reported that the cause of the budget deficit is not large union contracts or benefits, but special-interest spending Walker approved for such provisions as a fund for private health savings accounts.

Republican lawmakers say they have the votes to pass the plan, but Wisconsin Senate Democrats left the Capitol to prevent a vote from being taken.

Wisconsin Democrats say they are prepared to hide out for days or weeks, until the Republican governor negotiates with them.

Gov. Pat Quinn is encouraging the move. He says the Wisconsin Democrats are welcome to stay here until Walker, in Quinn’s words, “comes to his senses.”

A group from the nurse’s union is expected to travel to Madison on Wednesday, WBBM Newsradio 780’s Lisa Fielding reports.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Lisa Fielding reports

  • Truth

    You Chicago Union Workers ought to keep your nose out of other state’s business. Do your own jobs for a change. Oh, wait, you work in Chicago, so that means you can punch in, drive to Madison, demonstrate, drive back and punch out and still get paid for a working day. That’s the problem right there you idiots!


    they need to stay here and take to the streets demanding all these elected hacks re-sign…..

  • Toss them out

    RE_CALLL QUINN ………..2011

    • Mr. Justice

      I like your thinking “Todd them out”. But you know, it will never happen. Because the majority of those who voted for Quinn: 1) Do not pay taxes as they do not work. 2) They do not own property. 3) Majority of them are on welfare so they continue to receive from the big nipple of Illinois, instead of paying in.
      I do wonder how many of the welfare people will vote tomorrow and the number of times they will vote.

      • Jim

        It’s typical “pay to play” with our tax dollars again!

  • No Name

    Chicago is always sticking its nose in other people’s business. And then they wonder why people make fun of Chicago.

  • Jim

    Poor title as it should read “Chicago Unions Head To Wisconsin For Protest” as I would go up to support Gov. Walker if it were paid and I am a worker. Unfortunately we real working folks have to actually work while we get paid; what a novel idea! This is one of the many reasons that Unions need to go down!

    • Mr. Justice

      >>>>> Jim, I agree with you.
      Unions had their place in society years ago, but they are no longer needed.

    • More corruption

      How about the doctors setting up shop giving these people fake sick notes to use for their absences?? These “fine” medical professionals need to be investigated, fined and their licenses suspended or revolked!!!! I hope the Wis. GOP stays strong!!!

    • Gee-reg

      Hey Jim, when is the last time you did real work like chasing a felon when he is armed with a gun down a dark alley and then into an abandoned building ?? How much would you charge if you did that ? I get to do that many times a year and at union wage that you say is too much. Even when I’m off duty at home my neighbors expect me to do police work for them 24-7. How many of your neighbors expect you to do your real work when you’re at home ??

  • Julio V

    Fire al of the teachers that protest when they should be teaching. this is what we pay them for. they shoulod just shut the hell up and teach or find another profession

    • Mr. Justice

      Right On!

  • I'm NOT a Democrat but.....

    If it wasn’t for UNIONS we’d all be working 6 day weeks 12 hour days for less than minimum wage. READ YOUR HISTORY!! The Republicans ( I call them the YOYO party yoyo stands for “You’re on your own) I’m always flabbergasted at the STUPIDITY of some of the posts I read on the WBBM web sight!

    • Mr. Justice

      Unions had their place many years ago.
      dumb ass comment about “you’re on your own” though.

    • bob

      The union movement wasn’t conceived to give people lavish benefits as we see today and to bankrupt the state. Union members didn’t get shot & beat up to allow people to retire at 52 with hundreds of dollars of pensions or to have their taxes raised. This isn’t all about making teachers work 6 days a week or get health benefits or better working conditions. I’d say teachers making $160,000 a year to teach out of a book that was already prepared for them, are doing pretty good in the world.

    • bob

      Sorry, Hundreds of Thousands of dollars pensions. A typo, I’m not a teacher.

      • Gee-reg

        Why don’t some of you complainers look at what the pension is for your politicians. they get 80% pay after just 10 years on the job. They pay no money into the pension when they are working. The federal politicians pension money comes out of the social security fund to which they did not put one penny into. (wonder why it’s going broke) Why not complain about the free government pension (welfare) being given out to people who never worked one day in their life.

  • Tweets that mention Chicago Workers Head To Wisconsin For Protest « CBS Chicago --

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    It is President’s Day so they are probably given a paid day off. It is just another government Hallmark Day. It is only good for the children that these teachers go back to work on Tuesday. If they do not go back and teach then their main focus was never for the best interest of the children. At least that is the song they have been singing!

  • bob

    Funny to see all the trades union members going up there to protest for the Wisc teachers. The teachers wouldn’t do it for you. They all have college degrees, many with masters or higher. They consider trades people dirt bags and I guarantee they’d never take a day off or drive a distance to protest with trades people.

    Trades union members don’t get lavish benefits like the teachers do. No retire at 52 with 75% of your pay or free health insurance and no contribution to the pension fund. How many tradesmen are making $160k a year and will get $120k a year for the rest of your lives? Wisc residents aren’t willing to have their taxes jacked up to pay $160k a year for some gym teacher to teach kids kick a ball down a field.

    • Trade unions

      EX-union trade member here. Thanks for pointing that out, great post!!!! Sacrifice quality for quantity. I had a BA tell me “well, yeah it’s a trade off”. NO paid days off, NO vacation pay, NO cap quotas imposed by employers. Basically you get a couple tickets for a turkey raffle on thanksgiving, and you better not forget to pay your dues!!!!!! Don’t ask me about a friend of mine who fell 1 hour short of his minimum hrs. worked to get his health benies!!!!!! Trades need to work a minimum number of hours to get their health and welfare. Good luck getting those hours in in this economy!!!!! The trades are as skilled if not MORE SKILLED then these teachers and they don’t get anything for it!!!!!

  • Bob Garon

    If the situation in Wisconsin only applied to Wisconsin, we, the people, across the nation would express less interest. However, since the money and the power including the media is involved, but this is a struggle about the govement of Wisconsin attempting to break the union. Democracy can only be a democracy if everyone has a voice. The govenor does not want the civil service employess to take cuts. They want them to give up their right to have representation at the bargaining table. Where did the money come from for the Tea Party? Why do they have such strong media backing? Who owns the media? Who speaks for the common people? It is a time to change but until our government gets out of the pockets of the money people of the corporate and banking media, we will not have Peace and Justice in our nation.

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