Occupy Chicago Demonstrators Protest Wisconsin Gov. Walker

CHICAGO (CBS) — Protesters gathered Thursday morning in front of the Union League Club downtown, where Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was speaking.

As WBBM Newsradio’s John Waelti reports, Walker addressed business leaders at the Union League Club about budget battles in Wisconsin.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Waelti reports

The protesters, chanting “We are the 99 percent” disrupted Walker’s speech for a few minutes before being led out of the room.

Outside, about 100 public union members and Occupy Chicago activists protested his appearance. Protesters Kelvin Ho said Wednesday that Walker “personifies” what the Occupy movement opposes.

Walker made headlines earlier this year for ending collective bargaining for state employees in Wisconsin, as an element of his budget.

During his speech, Walker said state workers in Wisconsin now have a choice on whether to join the union. He also said local governments now have more flexibility to save money without worrying about expensive union work rules.

Protest organizer Catherine Murrell said Walker’s idea of reform isn’t right for Illinois.

“His idea of budget reform is to bust unions, and basically just slash state budgets – cut jobs rather than create jobs – so he can give corporate welfare handouts,” Murrell said.

Organizers were hoping to get direct access to Walker, but security was tight in front of the club.

Earlier this year, Walker pushed through a law that forbids most government workers from collectively bargaining for wage increases beyond the rate of inflation. It also requires public workers to pay more toward their pensions and double their health insurance contribution, a combination equivalent to an 8 percent pay cut for the average worker.

Amid heated protests in Madison, Wis., the state’s 14 Senate Democrats left and hid out in Illinois, thus preventing the quorum required for the state Senate to vote on bills involving spending money.

Republicans fought back by taking all the spending measures out of the legislation, but keeping in the provision to restrict collective bargaining rights for state employees. The bill passed a short time later without the Democrats.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.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.)

  • George Bush

    Amen to that

  • Jim

    Fred are you insane?

  • southside

    God Bless Gov. Walker. The people of Wisconsin now get to keep more of their own money. They have a balanced budget and no looming tax increases. Wish we had a Gov. Walker in Illinois

  • Tricia

    Southside WRONG WRONG- Walker took money away from the workers and gave it to the wealthy. Wisconsin had a balanced budget and their pension funds are all good—, but walker wanted to go after the middle class, He gave Large tax breaks to the wealthy.. He then said he had to cut the income of the middle class??? Lies nothing but LIES.. This guys is the devil. God isn’t blessing him but the devil is. Stop eating your own . We are the 99%- Walker is a Koch Brother scrum bag. Working against you and for the Corporate welfare

    • southside

      Put down the kool-aid, Tricia. Public unions are the 1%. We 99% of the regular folks get to pay and pay and pay more in taxes while the fat cat unions fleece our governments. God bless Gov Walker.

    • dooinok

      You think pension funds are ok….and not draining the state and taxpayers…..you are a fool.

  • John Q. Public

    I like this guy’s approach to handling the greedy ass unions. Hopefully when Republicans finally take over Illinois, they can slap down the unions also. We need more leaders like Walker.

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