Voices of Wisconsin: Protesters stand firm against budget bill
Demonstrators sing union songs as they protest inside the state Capitol in Madison on Monday.
March 9th, 2011
12:58 PM ET

Voices of Wisconsin: Protesters stand firm against budget bill

Protesters have been converging on the Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin, since mid-February to protest the governor’s budget bill. Their voices are angry, energetic, accusatory.

The bill, which proponents say reels in spending but critics say is an overt attempt at union-busting, prompted 14 Democratic state senators to leave the state so they wouldn’t be forced to vote on the bill.

Despite reports of progress in the negotiations, there are still several bones of contention. The original bill by Gov. Scott Walker requires all public workers but police officers and firefighters to increase contributions to their pension and health insurance, and it prohibits unions from collecting dues.

It also restricts the unions’ collective bargaining power, caps wages and requires annual votes for unions to remain certified, which critics say would be costly.

The crowds have thinned since the protests first began, but many remain adamant that Walker’s bill must be defeated. Here is what some of them are saying:

Barney Decker, retiree

The 58-year-old from Madison said he’s worn out from walking 5 or 6 miles a day during the last 12 days of the protests.

He accuses the statehouse of “bully politics” and said he doesn’t appreciate “the way they’re trying to change things, ram things down our throat without a chance of really seeing the bill.”

He has faith, though, that the protesters will prevail.

“People who use democracy and understand what democracy is, always win in the end,” he said.

Sherry Carr, animal control worker

Carr, 48, has been attending the protests since they began, stopping in during lunch breaks and on her days off.

The Madison union member said that when she first heard of Walker’s proposals, “my jaw just dropped and I knew we had to do something to stop this.”

She predicted that if the bill passes, it will be detrimental to the state.

“The more that comes out about what’s in this bill – both the budget repair bill and the budget itself – it’s going to rip this state apart. It’s going to rip this state to the seams.”

Deborah Weisser, mom

The Madison stay-at-home mother of two has been a mainstay at the protests, pushing her 2-year-old son’s stroller amid the demonstrations.

The boy has heard the chants for 20 days now, and Weisser said he asks every morning, “Are we going to kill the bill, mom?”

Wielding a sign that reads, “This is a fight for democracy and human rights. Hold the line,” the 31-year-old said she has no government or union affiliation. She simply feels her fellow Wisconsinites are having their rights trampled on.

She feels the bill has little to do with the budget and is more focused on “busting unions so that we have to live in a corporate-controlled world.” She worries that it will hurt services like recycling programs and increase classroom sizes for her 9-year-old, she said.

“Now that I have stood up, I can’t sit down,” she said. “I’m just a mom who sees my rights and the rights of my fellow people being violated, and I’m not going to sit down for it.”

Marianne Julian, retiree

The 65-year-old former health care worker was bundled in a University of Wisconsin jacket to ward off the 20- and 30-degree temperatures in Madison.

A union member, she said she has been to the Capitol about 11 times since the protests began.

She stated flatly that the budget bill is wrong and that the state should continue engaging in collective bargaining.

“My favorite book of the Bible is the book of James,” she said, “and it says if you don’t get up off your bottom and do something about your faith, then your faith is worthless.”

Asked if she was optimistic the protests would be effective, she replied, “We always hope. That’s what Christians are all about.”

Marvin Cartwright, boilermaker

Cartwright is from Gladstone, and he has taken time off work to attend the last nine days of demonstrations at the Capitol.

A member of Local 107, he said he’s disturbed that Walker’s first step in office was to disband the unions. He’d like to see a compromise and said he and other protesters are at the Capitol to support the 14 Democrats who fled the state.

“(Walker’s) on a beeline to make Wisconsin a right-to-work state,” he said, using the term used for states where workers decide for themselves whether to join unions. “That’s the ultimate goal for Mr. Walker. We’ve got to stop him on the front end. We’ll be here as long as those 14 Democrats are out.”

Francis Clark, cook

The 50-year-old Madison resident looked tired but said he’s “fired up and ready to go.”

He joined the protests on their third day because he felt the “whole bill just wasn’t right.” He lives and works near the Capitol “and when I get off work I come out here and make sure my voice is heard.”

“The whole bill and the whole budget are just so contrary to what Wisconsin is all about, from BadgerCare (state health care coverage) to union-busting to our environment to green power to green jobs to green energy to green trains. Everything is just wrong with what Scott Walker is doing,” he said.

Though Clark said he’d like to see the bill killed largely for environmental reasons, he also believes Wisconsin needs a constitution that prevents both corporations and unions from buying elections. He feels such a measure would allow unions to purchase more health insurance for their members.

“I’m not yelling so much, but I don’t need to,” he said. “I just need to think about how we’re going to win.”

Jim Ross, building engineer

Ross is one of only three building engineers for the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, and he comes out to join the protests every Tuesday, his day off.

He's from Milwaukee County – which Walker represented as an assemblyman and county executive before winning the governorship last year – and he believes the governor is attempting to dismantle the unions.

“He was that way in Milwaukee County and he was real stubborn there, and he’s carrying on here,” he said.

The 50-year-old member of Local 317 said the bill “cuts to home” because his father was a union teacher in Chicago, Illinois, and Wisconsin, which “afforded me the opportunity to go to college and just live a decent life.”

His biggest fear, he said, is “that they’re going to pass this and drag the senators back here illegally,” but he remains optimistic.

“I think that the people have been reinvigorated about this, and we’ll persevere,” he said.

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Filed under: Economy • Gov. Scott Walker • Jobs • Politics • Protest • U.S. • Wisconsin
soundoff (468 Responses)
  1. The Lorax

    Will shows the eloquence and an above average IQ of most of the Tea Party movement.

    March 9, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim Bob

      Yeah, their IQ's are only about 2% higher than a rock.

      March 9, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • JLPl

      Gov. Walker must stand his ground or the state will face massive layoffs and loss of business, in a state that is as close to the liberal welfare state in the country.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      NEW YORK – Tea party supporters are wealthier and more well-educated than the general public, tend to be Republican, white, male, and married, and their strong opposition to the Obama administration is more rooted in political ideology than anxiety about their personal economic situation, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chad

      What is not reported (because we are not picketing) is that the MAJORITY of Wisconsin voters are delighted that the Gov has the guts to take a stand against the powerful and highly political public unions. This is not a fight of the poor union workers versus the rich corporations. This is a battle of tired taxpayers versus overly expensive benefit packages. We don't hate the unions. We just have to draw the line. I wish ther would be some compromise though – somewhere – this mess is not good for anyone.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aeromechanic.

      Chad, you know very well that isn't true. On 51 % of the WI population took the time to vote in the gubernatorial election and of that 51%, 51% voted for Walker. Hardly any kind of madate. A slim majority of a slim majority.

      In additon, EVERY poll I have seen has indicated that the public is NOT on Walker's side. The majority want collective bargaining rights to remain in place. There is tremedous pressure being put on the senate republicans to drop the bill in it's entirety.

      Rest assured, Walker will be recalled over this.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • jimrytown

      In 2009, out of all 50 states only one other state had SAT scores higher than WI. I hear a lot of flak about that the teachers in WI are doing a crappy job of educating students in the state, and that they just stay at home and steal all the budget. With that level of accomplishment on SAT's, they must be doing SOMEthing right. I don't see how a the system could POSSIBLY gone sour in just two and a half years. This must just be another figment of the TPers imagination. The source for my info comes from http://blog.bestandworststates.com/2009/08/25/state-sat-scores-2009.aspx. Look it up TPers. if you can.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      1....he was elected by an overwhelming majority to the governors office...

      2....one of his #1 campaign promises was to do this...this was no secret and is the will of the majority of the state...proving election by majority still has relevance.

      But you dumb a$$ liberals can continue to spend spend and spend and eventually Madison will look like Flint, MI...just sayin.

      Collective bargaining has no business in publicly funded jobs, wages and benefits should be based on performance and the ability to pay.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      Since "we have to draw the line somewhere" why don't we get some freaking guts and draw it against the many, many corporations who receive government subsidies for outsourcing, pay no taxes, and have had record profits. You attack unions because you are weak and scared. Well guess what, they pay taxes! They have far less influence on politics because they have far less money! They are just like you...trying to feed a family, pay for school...etc.

      If Walker wins, nothing will change. Know why? Because unions aren't the problem. Wisconsin will still be broke and there will be a new enemy....I guarantee it won't be the Koch brothers.

      And, employing people does not put you above the law or above ethics. It just means you're rich. We would all employ people if we were rich.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • mwestf

      I didn't sign up for this. In the eighties I was a Young Republican but after a couple of wars and what I would call a wholesale sell out of the GOP to the corporate robber-barons of our age I am beginning to come around to the idea that Powel and others are right in leaving the GOP. Anyone have an alternative? Jeez even Michael Moore is starting to sound good when he talks about how this affects the people while the GOP only cares about business in the abstract. I happen to know a few multi-millionaires and not one of them is suffering, in fact all have gobbled up tons of real estate with the winnings of the tax cuts. I don't care about the rich as much as I care about the people from my childhood neighborhood, and they are suffering while my rich friends are buying their fourth car and second vacation home. Michael Moore is right, "the country is awash in cash...it just isn't in your pocket."

      March 9, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aeromechanic.

      Frank, you must have read what I replied to Chad. It is the truth. Now please stop making up your own story along the way.

      He was not elected by a huge majority. He did not campaign on a union busting platform.

      He will be recalled.

      March 9, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • MMSTexas

      May be its right that there shouldn't be union among public workers. But read the history America – the biggest oppressors of American's was the American government. But this has nothing to do with the current predicament the state/local governments are facing. As I have posted eariier

      "You have to question why are states/local governments in this situation. They are in red because they lost the public pension funds to Wall Street's toxic puddle. The big fat cats lost money too, but the comparisions stops there, THEY were BAILED out by the public including the union workers!!! Pension funds remain lost and states cannot pay them. Now they are requesting to public employees to pay them – which they are/were already paying in full."

      March 9, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cliff Vegas

      What Brian didn't say is that the poll was taken April 2010 – which is a very long time in the world of demographics. Moreover, about 57% of those included in the NYT poll also had favorable views on GW Bush – which I think negates the entire idea that they're smarter than the rest of us humps.

      March 9, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • jtbink

      Schummer just countered the gop budget proposal..... Get this out ....


      March 9, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      > 2....one of his #1 campaign promises was to do this...this was no secret and is the will of the majority of the state..
      Can you name independent sources, prior to the election, that states this. Difficult to find since it wasn't a campaign issue.

      March 9, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • bruce

      Thank God I live in a right-to-work state and do not have the Big Government Union Bosses telling me what to do. I love freedom. I feel sorry for WI. residence, hope they get out from under this horrible opression.

      March 9, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • ranchotim

      Well funded protestors courtesy of US Tax payers.

      March 9, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nimrod

      jimrytown, for a better look at the SAT score statistics I would recommend that you check out the information at this link http://tinyurl.com/4v9bn . It will give you more complete understanding of the statistics and will be quite disappointing if you are expecting Wisconsin to come out as a glowing example of educational excellence.

      Andrew, if you would do just a little research, you would find that of the 20 biggest givers to federal level politics over the past 20 years, ten are....... wait for it.............UNIONS!!! and only four were corporations!! In states like Wisconsin, the unions take dues by duress from all workers and then give much of it to politicians (mostly democrat) regardless of the individual preferences of the members (many of whom are unwilling members).

      March 9, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  2. franc1

    Stand tough, Wisconsin! These facsists will FALL to the power of justice and intelligence.

    March 9, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Idiot-ID-er

      franc you speak like a clueless nonbusiness owner who has no idea what a budget is or how to run a company. The greedy teachers need to be careful as they will find themselves out on their butts like the air traffic controllers in the 80's. They thought they couldn't be replaced either.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aeromechanic.

      No idiot, the so-called budget problem was create by walker himself. 1st thing he does is give $140 million in tax breaks, mostly to the wealthy and then claims that the state is $137 million in the hole.

      Seems to me that the state should be $3 million to the good.

      March 9, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      Are you sick of highly paid teachers?

      Teachers' hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or10 months a year! It's time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do – babysit!

      We can get that for less than minimum wage.

      That's right. Let's give them $3.00 an hour and only the hours they worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school. That would be $19.50 a day (7:45 to 3:00 PM with 45 min. off for lunch and plan– that equals 6 1/2 hours).

      Each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children. Now how many students do they teach in a day...maybe 30? So that's $19.50 x 30 = $585.00 a day.

      However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!! I am not going to pay them for any vacations.

      LET'S SEE....

      That's $585 X 180= $105,300

      per year. (Hold on! My calculator needs new batteries).

      What about those special

      education teachers and the ones with Master's degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage ($7.75), and just to be fair, round it off to $8.00 an

      hour. That would be $8 X 6 1/2 hours X 30 children X 180 days = $280,800 per year.

      Wait a minute - there's

      something wrong here! There sure is!

      The average teacher's salary

      (nation wide) is $50,000. $50,000/180 days

      = $277.77/per day/30

      students=$9.25/6.5 hours = $1.42 per hour per student–a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your kids!) WHAT A DEAL!!!!

      Make a teacher smile; repost this to show appreciation for all educators.

      Update: I'm glad that many people have shown their support for teachers by reposting this note, but I am not the original author. I received this as an anonymous chain letter email, and I wanted to share it to support the public workers of Wisconsin.


      March 9, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. HowAboutGiving BothSides

    Instead of being a mouthpiece for the Unions give both sides of the story. We (Americans) are tired of being taken by the media, the lib media, making people think that giving more than half of what we work for is the right thing to do. Total "Bravo Sam" Time to keep more of what we earn and let other people start contributing. I'm sick of funding EVERYONE! I support the Gov. and he needs to stand tall and firm.

    March 9, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • steve harnack

      Since all unions are is the people, the workers who comprise them, what you are saying is quit being the mouthpiece for the workers. It sounds a little different when you say what it really means, doesn't it?

      March 9, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sandy

      I am an American and pay taxes far beyond the average and I totally opposed to not only this bill, but what it really is about. This is no patriot trying to save his state. The budget he is trying to balance is only in the red because he gave millions to BUSINESS in tax breaks. So tell me Tea Partiers..is that what you want. A government run by big business, the Wolf Brothers? Cuz that is what you are getting. If Walker was truly doing what he felt was right, why not include all unions – police and fire fighters? Are they "more equal" than the others? If you study history at all, and sadly most Americans know very little about their country's past, you know why unions were formed. Because of the abuse of absolute control by Business. This is one fight that if lost, will impact all of us in very bad ways. Instead of asking why these workers can't give up pensions and health care, ask why all workers in the US don't have them? Oh yes, is Walker giving up his pension and paying into his health care plan?

      March 9, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daddieo

      I am an American and I am tired of the overpaid rich using campaign donations and bribery to get their greedy ways!! JUST HOW MUCH MONEY AND POWER DOES ONE PERSON NEED??? the Koch brothers obviously have too much.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • MMSTexas

      You have to question why are states/local governments in this situation. They are in red because they lost the public pension funds to Wall Street's toxic puddle. The big fat cats lost money too, but the comparisions stops there, THEY were BAILED out by the public including the union workers!!! Pension funds remain lost and states cannot pay them. Now they are requesting to public employees to pay them – which they are/were already paying in full.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • KLDGBB

      MMS in Texas – EXCELLENT POINT. I could not agree more.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • CSIowa

      I am so sick of union bashing and hearing how your tax money is going to the pension and health care of these people. Wake up....these are working people. These people also pay taxes! You want to grip about something, lets gripe about people that get free insurance, food, housing, and so forth. These are the people out there that are killing this country. They get all these benefits and don't pay a penny in taxes. How long can this country afford to do this? This is a free country or so we are led to believe, so if someone is in a union and they have collective bargaining rights – so be it! Walker is a corupt under educated idiot and he will ruin the state of Wisconsin.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike in WA

      Nearly half the states don't allow collective bargaining with public sector so how is it un-american?

      March 9, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • jtbink

      you are certainly in the un informed minority..both sides..your comments represent the corporate owned wingnuts ans soon to be recalled little gov!

      Lies all lies:

      March 9, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • AverageJim

      Liberal media?! You've got to be kidding. That may have been true 30 years ago, but it certainly isn't true today with the big corporate interests owning 90% of the media outlets. Fox News is just the most extreme example. But you'll even see outlets like NPR who is afraid to say too much of the truth for fear of corporate interests defunding them. Or other commentators afraid to get too confrontational with republican politicians that outright lie for fear of losing their jobs.

      March 9, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • sambo

      @sandy...I pay more taxes than you honey and these union thugs don't stand for the middle class....they destroy it. Get these leaches off of our backs. They come out in force when the tax trough is about to disappear cuz they can't make it on their own. Unions = increase taxes and that burden is on the middle class. WAKE UP middle class tax payer your union is about to help raise your taxes

      March 9, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • ShaJen

      How About, tell us who you work for and what is your position in the that corporation?

      March 9, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. IrishFox729

    Wisconsin's business climate is one of the worst and our taxes are so high I look at property taxes in my home search very seriously. Governer Walker's bill must pass or else the municipalities will not have the power to find cheaper health care for the public worker and cut other benefits in order to find the savings needed to keep their budgets at 2010 levels. Just like 2 year olds, you give them what they want all the time and they cry too when you take it away....we cannot sustain these ridiculous benefit packages for public employees. I can't even afford health care and I am a Wisconsin Worker....why doesn't anyone care about workers like me? I say enough of retiring at 55 with full pensions and full health insurance....those times are long gone.

    March 9, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • c

      ...but it's ok to give large tax breaks to big business?

      March 9, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • JRR

      Perfectly stated. The state workers in Wisconsin are well under 10% of the populations, but they act like they speak for 99% of the people. I say put the public union matter up for a statewide public referendum. Then we will actually see what the sentiment is for this nonsense.

      March 9, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • agn

      So you would rather support big business and a Governor that cares more about helping them then your fellow workers. I say shame on you!

      March 9, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • guy

      As far as business climate goes.... Walker chose a divisive path, mostly to get his face in the national media. The political situation is going to be unstable in Wisconsin for the next year or so if not longer with two rounds of recall elections likely. If Walker gets a "pro-business" law through, a business looking to move to Wisconsin is going to be wondering if they can count on a change they see as favorable will be repealed a few months later. Walker's approach may serve his own ambitions and serve as a wagging point for conservatives, but it makes Wisconsin pretty toxic for a business looking to move there.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • deac

      Most of these protesters are professionals and probably being shipped in. They make up lies and pass them around like joints

      March 9, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • tobyspeeks

      "...ridiculous benefit packages for public employees." You're misinformed! You do not know the facts, you are only repeating what the teabaggers and republicans are telling you to repeat. Dare to think for yourself, kick the mass media habit. You'll be glad you did once you learn the truth.

      Our benefits are part of our total compensation package. We work for every last penny!!! Our compensation begins as tax dollars and ends up as EARNED WAGES, not tax dollars any longer. This is why our take home pay is between 10-25% lower than the private sector. It equals out in the end.

      Besides, you and everyone else in the private sector have not paid a dime of your cuts to balance any budget. All money lost by you has gone into greedy, godless and soulless corporate fat cat's pockets. But, now it is your turn to help balance the budget!!! Another 10-15% tax from the private sector because us government employees can not keep paying for all you free loaders!

      March 9, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • A Nony Mouse

      C – live in Wisconsin? Do you know the Tax Climate for any business in that state big or small? Know the corruption of most of the aulderman there (Most people call them council men.) Minimum mark up and tax rates are making businesses large and small flee Wisconsin. Unions shuld be to protect the people not pad their wallets. If you've never lived in the state, particularly in the last 10 years, I wouldn't coment on the big business BS.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • dug

      I think it is about time that the government has discovered (just like every business in america,) they too must work within the budget they have been provided. If a business is failing they don't have the option of just taking more money from other people. they must cut the fat, And that is all we are asking the state to do.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • nodeadbeats

      I'm a union member in California. I am pro-union and would be even if I wasn't in the union. When I retire from the county after 35+ years. I will have a pension that I contributed too. I will be resonsible for my health care in full. In case you are wondering about my education I am a medical proffessional. I put myself through school and wanted to help those with less. I won't retire at 55 with 100 percent of my salary like the highschool educated police and fire folks I work with. Stop bashing unions until you know what you are talking about. I happened to be disabled has well but I'm not a cry baby about it. Go after corrupt big business that run our country. That is the root of the problem.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • AverageJim

      Or maybe, Irishfox, Walker should just not have passed 140 milliion in new tax breaks to corporations the first month he was in office. Or, at a national level, maybe we shouldn't have passed 700 billion in tax breaks for the top 2% who were already rich enough, and who doubled their % of U.S. wealth in the last 30 years (unlike everyone else, including the middle class people you are bashing, who have gotten poorer).

      March 9, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Normal Dad

      I'm a business owner in Wisconsin, and have been for the past 17 years. Doing quite nicely thank you. The reason people come to Wisconsin is because of the good schools and clean environment, not silly little tax breaks like Walker is doing. Last Sunday's Wisconsin State Journal had an employment ad for a grocery store manager. Sadly, Walker did not have either the education nor the management experience to qualify. Truth is, except for his unquestioning devotion to his dogma and eagerness to please the Koch brothers, Walker is woefully unqualified for the position the puppet masters put him in. What kind of business person would pick a huge fight the first thing after taking over, with no dialogue at all?

      PS Happy St. Pat's Day!

      March 9, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Anonymous

    1.Where are the comments/bios from those that support the bill? Let's have some balance in your reporting please.

    2. Unions are good, however forcing workers to be in a union and taking 10% of the workers pay is more like slavery.

    3. Unions have been too self serving in the last 20 years, this bill strikes at the core of them because it prevents the state being abused by the Unions.

    4. I am a current member of a Union and I believe this bill should pass! Too many good new people that I have worked with have been let go due to seniority and not merit.

    March 9, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim Bob

      They don't take 10% of the workers pay. Where did you get that nonsense? Out of your a$$?

      March 9, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • TC

      Yeah, the 10% comes from the taxpayer.....and how is that fair?

      March 9, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • A Nony Mouse

      Average yearly dues to a union is about 3000 dollars some times higher or lower, it works out to about 10% of annual income. And in many unionised businesses in Wisconsin, unions are not optional.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • cl

      My union dues are 1.5% of my paycheck. I don't know where A Nony Mouse gets their information about average dues, but it's not at all representative of my union who represents 6,000 workers. And yes, my union is local in Wisconsin, and I live in Wisconsin.

      March 10, 2011 at 1:37 am | Report abuse |
  6. detada

    Way to go, Wisconsin Protestors. Middle classers, both union and non-union, support you 110%.

    March 9, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Geez

      Speak for yourself.

      March 9, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim Bob

      Yes, hang in there, GO TEACHERS, GO UNIONS!!!

      March 9, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • agn

      Hear! Hear! I agree! GO TEACHERS, GO UNIONS!!!

      March 9, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nimrod

      I'm a member of the middle class and I certainly don't support the actions of the protesters. In my opinion, the governor has it right. Mark McKinnon gives an excellent, cogent, and concise analysis of the situation in the March 7 edition of Newsweek magazine (page 19).

      March 9, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • hank bradley

      I am an American working middle class & I Do Not support them!

      March 9, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • ShaJen

      Yes, the entire country is behind you, Wisconsin!!! Those who aren't, disregard. They are no doubt paid spokesman for those who would tear us down.

      March 9, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Nan

    WOW! In the article I noticed the only people interviewed were for the union! What about the side – those that support the Governor? Where are the interviews? Is this one -sided reporting? I feel badly for the child who is paraded around in the COLD and listening to a lot of adults yelling. This just shows his mother lacks parenting skills which means her comments count as nothing. Have you noticed most of these people are strictly union and retirees? Most of the public workers are Doing their job working. My father was a union man! However, we have the UNION to thank for his company moving out of state – He then had "NO JOB" !

    March 9, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • c

      ...according to the polls, there aren't a lot of people taking the governor's side.

      March 9, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • loy1902

      It's a story about the Union Protesters genius.

      March 9, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • JRR

      @c – Let's put it up for a public referendum then? I don't see any of the union supporters agreeing with that!

      March 9, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • agn

      Nan you are insane... I feel sorry for you and your small minded thinking. You have been brainwashed by Fox News!

      March 9, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • TC

      Nan, that's how these libs are. Only want to hear from their own. The world revolves only around them and all other viewpoints are idiotic. The teachers and union members make up a small percentage of the WI population. Put it out for a statewide vote and see what happens. The unions do not want this.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • southwestern view

      Keep protesting in WI and the rest of the Rust belt states. Keep pushing those state and local taxes higher and higher!!!

      We love it when companies get tired of paying the high taxes, realize they cannot remain competative paying them, pack up and move to the southern and southwestern states bring their jobs with them.

      The public sector union folks can stay in the rust belt.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Nan, you sound very simple minded. The MAJORITY of people, according to recent polls, disagree with what the govenor is trying to do. They know that it is morally wrong, and even though they are not in unions still support the unions...because it is the right thing to do. The unions did not cause this mess...bad politicians created this mess. Politicians who don't know how to manage money caused this mess. But teacher bashing is the latest craze...so if you can't think for yourself then you might as well jump on the band wagon.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • TC

      @Dave, Are you talking about the polls conducted by democratic affiliates and democratic leaning pollsters such as PPP? A recent poll from Forbes ran nationwide showed it just the opposite. Americans by and large are against the unions.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Normal Dad

      I live in Madison. 99% of the people are against Walker. You have to drive to Waukesha to find people who support him.

      March 9, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • TC

      @NormalDad; I didn't expect a democrat to say anything different. If that is so, why do the Unions and democrats not want to put this to referendum and have the people vote on it then? Seems like that since you asked everybody and know that 99% of all 5.6 million people are on your side it would be a no-brainer.

      March 9, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Normal Dad

      @TC – let me guess, you're from Texas, right? How are your schools these days?

      March 9, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • TC

      @NormalDad; Not even close. Way to dodge the question though. Also typical.

      March 9, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • cl

      @JRR, actually, I would love to see the entire bill be put to a voter referendum. That would actually go through a process and a majority vote rather than the dirty tricks the politicians have been playing to get the vote through. People would actually have the time to read and understand the bill rather than the legislature trying to pass it in less than a week after it was passed.

      In fact, according to the budget repair bill, any wage increase beyond the CPI would have to be put to a voter referendum anyway, so we might as well start with this one. I would love to see how the average Wisconsin voter feels about giving the governor the ability to sell off state power plants without soliciting any bids.

      March 10, 2011 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
  8. Tiddah1

    Will the hc bill took over a year to pass it was not ramed anywhere. In fact it took so long b/c dems in senate wanted repubs to contribute to it but that was a no go b/c of the summer protests. Anyway, I stand w/ the unions (working folk) over this govenor. Open your eyes. Why is he carving out police and firefighters if this is so important to the budget? I'll tell you why b/c its not about the budget, its about more than that. If it was about budgets why did he give billions to corporations in tax breaks??

    March 9, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • dug

      Why is it so bad to let people keep thier own money. And if you raise the taxes on buisiness the buisiness will leave and you have NO taxes coming in from that buisiness

      March 9, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      You stand with the working folk? Your standing with the minority of the middle class. The majority of the middle class are not in unions and we are working folk as well. Just because those loud mouth, low class protestors say it, doesnt mean they are speaking for all of us.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • cl

      @Sam, it would incorrect to think that every protester out there is in a union or a public sector employee. There are many who just happens to support their public sector employees. We could get rid of taxes all together and everybody could keep every cent that they earned, if only we all stopped using public services. Stop driving on the paved roads. Stop sending your children to public schools. Stop calling the police department of fire department when you have an emergency.

      You are using public services so you have to pay for your public sector employees' wages. I'm sorry that you don't like it, but you have to pay your teachers. At best, you can argue that they should be paid less, but the unions have already conceded to all the financial provisions in the bill. This, as we keep saying over and over, is not about the money.

      March 10, 2011 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |
  9. drc

    Why no word from those that support the bill and are tired of mafia UNIONS and their unsustainable demands. Unions had a time in this country, now Federal laws replace the 'harsh' labor conditions that used to exist. Unions now, typically PUBLIC unions are nothing more than big bullies demanding things that would never work in the real world.

    The most pathetic part of this is if Republicans were fleeing the state to hide and not vote the liberal media would be ALL over it. But since it is the Dems, they get the usual media pass.

    March 9, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • amazongirl999

      You're typical of the kind of ignorant opinions tea baggers ALWAYS represent. You wanna see "mafia" style bullying? Look no further than the finance industry, the health insurance industry, and the OIL industry. When is the last time a union caused over a TRILLION dollars in damage to the GLOBAL economy? What union is forcing you to pay over $4 per gal for gas while collecting MILLIONS in tax breaks they don't even need? And have you ever even ASKED why health insurance costs so much given how much of what you pay only goes to the insurance company and NOT the doctors who actually treat you? But where oh WHERE are the "monopoly-busting" GOBP measures to force these corporations to operate responsibly? Where's the Wall Street reform to cut back reckless lending and use of credit default swaps, or DELIBERATELY misleading credit ratings? Where are the conservatives who even ASK why nothing has been done by the GOBP to protect even their own BASE from all this?

      That's right, NOWHERE. But they've got time to go after a bunch of public school teachers though, huh? They have time to hand out tax cuts that aren't paid for, and then use the debt THEY CREATED as an excuse to attack unions who never asked the Gov. to give out those tax cuts. Do yourself a favor and go back to FOX before you try to answer any of these questions and suffer from some kind of brain hemorrhage.

      March 9, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • agn

      Brilliant retort Amazongirl999! Thanks for slamming this dope!

      March 9, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam


      All you people placing blame on the financial industry does not solve the problem. Just because the financial industry is full of its own issues, does not mean that the public sector unions DO NOT need to be corrected. Stop placing blame, they are both issues, but we are here now, with the ability to stop one of the two from doing more damage than it has already done. You can keep on saying what you are saying and watch the deterioration of this country. THIS NEEDS TO BE FIXED, ITS FRIGGEN BROKEN FOR GODS SAKE

      March 9, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • so sad

      Teachers need those unions to protect their working conditions. If this bill (and many like it across the country) pass, you are giving the various Boards of Educations around the state to control what are acceptable conditions. These are people from those school districts true, but there is no requirment that they have any teaching experience, knowledge of effective pedagogy or anything of the like. You are taking the power away from your childrens' best hope in terms of education. And are teachers really greedy? With their education they make approximately 2/3 of what their peers do in the private sector, in addtion to having to constantly pay for additional classes in order to stay certified. You would pay a babysitter more to watch your children on a daily basis than the amount of tax money that goes to teachers' salaries. And their "pensions" are collections of deferred salaries over the corse of their teaching career. Can the goverment take more money from your retirement savings without you getting upset? Do you research and stop listening to Fox News – which when sued over blatant false reporting had the FCC rule that they could call themselves a news station and willingly distort and change whatever they were reporting.

      March 9, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • TC

      @AmazonGirl: Excuse me but I believe a large part of the financial meltdown was Fannie/Freddie giving loans out to anyone and everyone and then not being able to cover when they went bust. As far as gas prices; try looking at the over regulation and taxes on gas for the cost. Typical crap from a toe the line" liberal. Also, where did you get that "trillion" dollar economic figure? Are you talking about the stimulus that Obama handed out that did nothing to boost the economy? Do some minor research before spouting the same old song and dance.

      March 9, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • cl

      Federal laws do not cover public sector employees.

      March 10, 2011 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
  10. Hedley

    Typical liberal BS from CNN. I'm not sure why I read this garbage.

    March 9, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reb


      March 9, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim Bob

      Then go back to Faux News and shut up, teatard.

      March 9, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • loy1902

      How is this "typical liberal BS?" It is a story about the protesters. Obviously the protesters do not support the bill. Moreover, I have seen ample coverage on CNN of the Wisconsin governor's rambling nonsense. Those of you who do not support the protesters should truly feel ashamed of yourselves. You have been bought and sold by corporate America, and now are merely a punchline for those of us with rationale thoughts. In the end, you won't even get a footnote in the history books.

      March 9, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • agn

      This is spot on:

      "Those of you who do not support the protesters should truly feel ashamed of yourselves. You have been bought and sold by corporate America, and now are merely a punchline for those of us with rationale thoughts."

      March 9, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jim Bob


    March 9, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • JForster

      This seems to be one of the few Pro-Union comments where there is a way to Reply. This CNN article is totally one-sided.

      Terri A Buttchen

      Trust Funds Specialist

      Retiree Services Section


      March 9, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Hunter

    Anyone who thinks it is a good thing to strip Americans of their rights is sadly delusional. We need unions! Public employees deserve the best they can get considering the low pay and constant abuse we put up with! If not for unions, we all would be making $1.00 an hour with no benefits, no pensions, and no dignity!

    March 9, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andy

      Public sector collective bargaining isn't, and has never been, a "right." It is a privilege, available in some states, and not in others.

      What is the source of this imaginary "right?"

      March 9, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • superlogi

      Hunter, when I went to fight LBJ's war, the most money I made as an E-5 with both combat and hazardous duty pay, tax free, was $468/month. I worked as a janitor in a University Hospital for $2.39/hr to put myself through school (7 years worth, partially funded by the GI Bill). I did it without the help of unions and, frankly, did it because I never wanted to have to join one and or work for one. You see, I believe in personal responsibility and the "free market" to provide the compensation it thinks my labor is worth. Now, I know there are people and companies who will take advantage of labor, but you always have the right to walk away and work for someone who will provide you the compensation and benefits you think you're due. And, as a matter of fact, employers who get by on the cheap, generally are unsuccessful long term. You see, they simply can't compete with substandard employees who also have a morale problem. On the other hand, if Im forced to employ people who do not provide value and to add insult to injury keep the worst one's at the expense of my product, be that a widget, a grommet or a student, that product will be substandard and sooner than later, I will be out of business. You see where this is going don't you? I hope so.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • cl

      @Andy, the language is "collective bargaining rights." Whether it's a right or not is at best murky. Rights are not so clearly defined, so the claim that it's just a privilege is also murky.

      March 10, 2011 at 1:50 am | Report abuse |
  13. looking for an answer

    Why are the police and firefighters exempt?

    March 9, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim Bob

      Because they have the power. If they walk out, Wisconsin is screwed. The Governor doesn't want to rile them. To hell with the teachers but don't mess with the cops and firemen. They're not TOTALLY stupid, just a little retarded.

      March 9, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andy

      That is what they are saying. Neither group is permitted to strike, but we have already seen that the teachers walked off the job anyway. For teachers, that's an inconvenience to the public. For police and firefighters, someone could end up dead if they did the same, so yes, they have more power.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Because they are the only ones the governor doesn't want to lose. He doesn't care if the teachers quit because according to him they are useless. But police and firefighters can keep everything they have because they play a useful role in society. Those YUKs with Masters Degrees teachers our children are worthless and should be treated as such. And that is WHY they are the only ones exempt. GOOD LUCK getting new qualified teachers into this state in the future. The govenor has just flushed the children of this state down the crapper.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Normal Dad

      Because it serves Walker's political interests, of course, the only thing that matters to him. The welfare of Wisconsin is the last thing on his mind. WHO HEARD THE PHONE CALL? WE ALL HEARD THE PHONE CALL!

      March 9, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • sleestak

      Simple really: the Wisconsin police and firefighter's unions are exempted from this bill because THEY DONATE MONEY TO REPUBLICANS!

      The other unions, the ones targeted in the bill, DONATE MONEY TO DEMOCRATS!

      March 9, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Reb

    58 year old retiree? Retired from what, public service? Don't whine with your wallet stuffed full of our tax dollars. Come back from your parallel universe and share the pain to get the budget fixed so future generations don't suffocate under your fat, "fed-at-the-trough-of public-largesse" ars. Who do you think left Walker the deficit anyway? The 14 Dems think they can take their ball and leave the game when it suits them. Someone needs to remind them who won the Nov election and why. Bunch of losers.

    March 9, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • KLDGBB

      It is really ridiculous to assume a public pension equates to a "fat wallet" for a retiree. Also, just because you perhaps do not have a job that provides a pension does not mean no one else should have one. Furthermore, public servants are not exactly getting huge salaries when they are working. Since we need people to work in public service to perform necessary tasks like TEACHING FUTURE GENERATIONS OF AMERICANS, plowing snow from our streets, staffing motor vehicle adminstrations, etc., then you have to supplement the generally low pay with decent benefits. Otherwise, these services are going to be staffed by increasingly incompetent people as all the competent people will get jobs in private industry that pay more. Do you want your kid taught by someone who is teaching because they couldn't get a job elsewhere? What is the incentive to teach any more? Low pay, bratty kids whose parents blame the teachers for any problems the kids have, etc.? I am not a teacher and I would not want to be and I am also childless by choice, but I stil think teaching is an extremely important job and they should be paid well and provided generous benefits in order to attract the best people to teach our future workers.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • tobyspeeks

      My Dad retired from the private sector when he was 52, what's your point, blatant idiocy? And after the work has been performed, the money is NO LONGER TAX DOLLARS, it becomes earned wages. By your simple idiotic logic, all money earned in a private sector job belongs to the corporation.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • tobyspeeks

      Oh yeah Reb, I almost forgot. You and all others in the private sector have not paid a dime of your cuts to balance any budget.

      All money lost by you has gone into greedy, godless and soulless corporate fat cat's pockets.

      But, now it is your turn to help balance the budget!!!

      Another 10-15% tax from the private sector because us government employees can not keep paying for all you free loaders!

      March 9, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • @ Reb

      The next time you call in sick, take a paid vacation or sleep in on the weekend remember where all those "perks" came from: UNIONS you teatard

      March 9, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • cl

      I'm pretty sure that everybody remembers that Walker didn't campaign on removing collective bargaining rights in November.

      March 10, 2011 at 1:53 am | Report abuse |
  15. Nan

    I noticed your interviews are mainly retirees and past union workers who have nothing better to do with their time. Maybe they could get off their backsides and help the less fortunate. As for the mother parading her child in the cold and forcing the child to be around "Loud" adults shows she needs some parenting classes. Why have you not interviewed the other people? Why have you not asked them why they feel as they do and report it? Federal employees do not need unions and neither do the state employees. Sahme on the dem senator leaving her children home while she hides out – let's hope they do not grow up thinking just becasue they do not get their way they should run away. The dems need to take it like Men and Women – If they really believe in the people they may take over in 2012? Just a reminder to them " the majority of voters are not union workers"...

    March 9, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      True, the majority of voters are not union workers, BUT the majority of voters support the union and think it is unfair what is happening to them. It takes a big person to look at the whole picture and support someone just because they are right and not because you are one of them. I guess you are not quite big enough. Can you imagine if the Dems were in power and FORCED you to join a union? It's just plain WRONG when others force you to do things, or take things like your rights. This is not about the budget...it is about taking away these people's rights to be heard.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • David Chin

      Good observation! If CNN really wanted to run a fair and balanced story, they would have interviewed at least one disgruntled tax payer who works in the private sector and doesn't enjoy having to pay taxes to support government workers who on average, have better benefits than non-government employees.

      March 9, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
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