Thousands of demonstrators massed for a third day Friday in Madison, Wisconsin, to protest Gov. Scott Walker's drastic budget-cutting proposal.
The proposal includes the elimination of some bargaining rights for public employees and slashing of benefits.
Teachers have been prominent among the protesters, so much so that school districts in Madison, Milwaukee and other cities were forced to cancel classes because of short staffing.
Many students came out to march in support of their teachers.
"I believe that their rights are really being violated. This is something they've fought for generations to achieve, and for Scott Walker to just take away their collective bargaining rights is just wrong," one young man told CNN affiliate WISC-TV in Madison.
"This is our time, today. And I realize just as I'm standing here that this is our time - our time to fight, our time to do something," said another.
"I have a mom who works for the state," he continued. "She's part of a union. I know what this is going to mean to our family, to families of my friends, to my family, if this bill passes. This means she's going to be taking home less money. This is going to be a big hit to our financial income."
The issue is personal for another student as well.
"My father's a teacher and we're strong advocates for public education, and we feel like these cuts aren't necessary and we feel it's unfair to many thousands of workers," high school student Andrea Guardalabene told CNN affiliate WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee.
But the sentiment isn't unanimous among students.
"I don't believe that paying 12.6% of your salary toward your health care and 5.3% toward your own pension is anything radical whatsoever," student Chase Studinski of Sun Prairie told WISC.
Tough times call for sacrifice, small business owner Steve Bennett told WTMJ.
"I think everyone's gone a little too far," Bennett, owner of a meat shop in Port Washington, Wisconsin, told the station. "We all have to dig into our pockets in these times, and dig deep, and make sure we are doing what's best for everybody and not just for ourselves."
In Columbus, Ohio, Senate Bill 5 is attracting similar attention. It would end binding arbitration for safety forces, remove raises and sick days from state law for teachers, and forbid municipal workers to bargain for health insurance.
"If you think that the (original) collective-bargaining bill was a gift to trade labor, you're wrong," Herschel Sigall, representing the Ohio State Troopers Association, said during a public hearing on the bill, according to the Columbus Dispatch. "It works well for employers as well as the employees. Tweak it, but do not throw it out."
Sigall noted there were 25 work stoppages in 17 years before collective bargaining began, none since, the Dispatch reported.
Kristen Treadway, director of human resources for the city of Gahanna, Ohio, spoke in support of the bill.
"The cost of bargaining and the cost of continual wage and benefit increases when the city is not growing are not sustainable," she said, according to the Dispatch.
A Tea Party member in the crowd had no sympathy for the public union members.
"Their benefits are so much better than mine, and their pay is so much better than mine, but they are still crying," Rick Barry of Akron told the Dispatch.