Union rallies, counter-protests, sprout across nationLabor groups in several states are holding rallies this week to show support for Wisconsin's public union members who are protesting Governor Scott Walker's proposal to end most of their collective bargaining rights.
By: Brian Bull, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Labor groups in several states are holding rallies this week to show support for Wisconsin's public union members who are protesting Governor Scott Walker's proposal to end most of their collective bargaining rights.
One was held Tuesday in Denver, Colo., where more than 500 members of labor and teachers unions gathered on the steps of the capitol building. Protesters waved signs that said, “Go to the table, Governor Walker”, “Former cheesehead in solidarity”, and “Middle-class closed for business.”
Just down the steps on a sidewalk were about 60 counter-protesters, who showed their support for Governor Walker and his budget repair legislation. They said they also were standing up to what they called “union thuggery,” and waved signs that said, “Unions bankrupt everything they touch” and “The Wisconsin 14 are cowards".
The rally was organized by Colorado’s AFLCIO and AFSCME chapters, while the counter-protest was sponsored by Americans for Prosperity.
During the event, some hecklers came up to the fringes of each other’s groups, where several animated and heated exchanges took place. But largely the protests remained peaceful.
Besides highlighting the debate over collective bargaining in Governor Walker’s legislation, the Colorado protesters were also voicing their own concern about Democratic Governor John Hickenloopers' proposal to cut $375-million from schools. Critics say could cost up to 5,500 teacher jobs across Colorado.