Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana protesters: 'Kill the bill!'
Tens of thousands of protesters are rallying in Wisconsin.
February 23rd, 2011
11:25 AM ET

Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana protesters: 'Kill the bill!'

Thousands of protesters are chanting, drumming, singing, locking arms and waging campaigns against bills that would affect union rights in Ohio, Wisconsin and Indiana. CNN's iReporters are there, capturing the demonstrations from within the crowds.

Wisconsin: Facebook, Twitter and e-mail are playing a huge role in student involvement in the massive protests outside the state Capitol building in Madison. Watch protesters chant, "Kill the bill!" Three student walkouts were reportedly sparked by Facebook invitations that were sent across the University of Wisconsin-Madison Facebook page. Thousands are now standing, shouting and chanting in the city Wednesday, voicing their opposition to what Republican Gov. Scott Wilson calls a "Budget Repair" bill that would force state workers to increase their contributions to their pensions and health insurance benefits. Wilson said the bill must pass to head off a $3.6 billion budget gap by 2013 - and layoffs.

University of Wisconsin students have protested alongside teachers. Health care workers have shown up to rally, and dozens of other state employees are literally beating drums to express their opposition to the bill that would eliminate collective bargaining rights. Even Rage Against the Machine's guitarist is there. He wrote about why he's joined the demonstrators for CNN.com. And CNN's Tom Foreman penned this note to President Barack Obama about the protests. All-but-declared presidential candidate Rick Santorum compared protesters to drug addicts.

Indiana: Democratic members of the state House walked out yesterday on a Republican-supported bill that would reduce private-sector union rights and prevent unions from requiring workers to pay dues. Labor unions shouted, "You're fired!" at Republicans on Tuesday, according to the Indianpolis Star-Tribune. The paper filed a Q & A about the bill. The battle in this state is all about politics at this point - a political standstill.

Ohio: For the second week, crowds of teachers gathered in Columbus, shouting and chanting "Kill the bill!" Ohio is facing an $8 billion budget shortfall, and Republican Gov. John Kasich says that it has to pass to restore "balance" to the budget. Demonstrators have been yelling, "Teachers, yes! Kasich, no!" The measure is not about destroying unions, Kasich has repeatedly said. The legislation would allow school administrators to be able to ignore tenure when considering whether to lay someone off. The bill would also mandate that workers pay at least 20 percent of their health insurance premiums. Merit-based pay - though it's unclear how merit would be measured - would be given to some public employees.

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Filed under: Indiana • Ohio • Protest • Wisconsin
soundoff (84 Responses)
  1. seaweed

    Wall Street loves this. While the country boils over the Union Demonstators, Wall Street hackers make off with billions of dollars and donate half of it to the Tea Party fools who thought this up in the first place.

    February 23, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • termlimits

      When it comes to people like you, seawood, I always follow this rule: "Do not argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." Have a great day!

      February 23, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JS in madtown wi

    I would just like to express my pride in the people of madison and wisconsin who've been rallying and even camping out in the capital. Throughout this entire legislative procedure, citizens of this state were given the freedom to speak, publicly, for two minutes at a time. The sign up sheets have been full and the testimony has been endless. The fact that public speaking is more feared than DEATH and has been a fixture in the capital for a week straight is what makes me proud to live in Wisconsin. These people should be heard.

    February 23, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tod

    The comments these crazy governors are spitting out amaze and appall me. I think these leaders are having money withdrawal. Some want to compare the people to drug addicts, well I think our leaders are money addicts which is worse than a drug addict. For money addicts, they do not care who they hurt as long as their pockets get fuller. Some even resort to lying to squeeze money out of the people. Money is the drug that is the most dangerous, but those in power have made it essential for us to simply live. How much money is enough for one person? People kill for money just like they do for drugs, in fact, I think many more people are killed for money than drugs any day. So, is money more important than a life? Apparently, it is in the minds of the leaders. This needs to stop. How many homes do you NEED? How many cars do you NEED? How much money do you really NEED?....1million, 10 million, 100 million, 1 billion? Does having all that money make you happier? Maybe it makes you feel secure, but are you immortal and can you defy death with all that money?
    As for me, I am comfortable with my little paycheck. I can go and do what I want most of the time, but what I do see is the increase in costs of everything, which means the dollar is getting real weak. At what point do we say enough is enough and take back our country from those that want to suck it dry and enslave us with low wages? There are so many things wrong with how we do things in this country and we need to fix them. No one ever said life is fair, but at least in death we are ALL EQUAL. Remember that all of you super wealthy people, you may be able to cheat us, but what good does it do you when you DIE, because you cannot cheat death. Money is the drug of choice for those in power and it is the worst drug of them all because more people die because of money than any other drug in history.

    February 23, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ray Peace

      I agree. And they will continue to suck up money and put a $ on our heads. As long as we have our cable TV and PS3 life is good, no one really cares. But that little piece of paper we call 'money' has no value, it never did, and it never will, and it will continue to be the root cause of problems around the world. The current economics of our entire planet does not work.

      February 23, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Don't even get me started on the Cable stuff. Next the airwaves will be for sail and Ameren UE electric is going to take the wind and solar energy and sell it to us in Missouri.

      February 23, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. duke

    What does a groups right to negotiate have to do with the budget??
    Why haven't the republicans released the numbers for what it actually cost to fund ALL of their perks??
    What does it cost to fund the lifetime health,security and pension for lawmakers after retirement??
    It is on the tax payers right??

    February 23, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. AstroPinion

    Hello,

    I read I that the Governor talks about “shared sacrifice”, did the ‘fat cats’ of the State sacrifice anything? Maybe I missed something.

    February 23, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Darrin G.

    If were not for those who did not vote for these whack jobs (right wingers) I would say to hell with them. AMERICAN PEOPLE WE DON'T HAVE TO GO THROUGH THIS, I'TS OUR CHOICE GET OUT AND VOTE!!!!!!

    February 23, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tired Teacher

    This is great... Read this if you appreciate or even hate teachers.

    by Eedroj Remier on Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 3:42pm
    Are you sick of high paid teachers? Teachers’ hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or 10 months a year! It’s time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do – baby sit! 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 do they teach in 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 (nationwide) 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!)

    February 23, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • carolo

      Good post. The new governor of MI is another one going after teachers. He wants to close half of every school in Detroit giving each teacher 60 students each class. Of course he wants to close down one of our prisons when the others are all over crowded. Amasing how the Republicans continue to call this "job creation".

      February 23, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Teachers work longer than most people realize. A 2008 research study reported that full-time teachers work, on average, 55 hours per week. [1] (This includes all the after school and evening and weekend work in correcting papers at home, preparing tests, designing lesson plans, attending after school functions as well as parent meetings, etc.) If you multiply 55 hours x 38 weeks in a regular teacher’s contract, you get 2,090 hours of work. Divide the 2,090 by 40 hours per week (average workweek) and you have a typical teacher working 52.25 weeks per year! They do this in a compressed nine-months of time. It should also not be forgotten that when teachers “ . . . are compelled not to work during the three months of summer, they won’t be able to collect unemployment compensation.” [2] However, other “seasonal workers” have that right.

      [1] NEA Today (2008, September). Miscellaneous classroom concerns, 27(1), p. 28. [ED3-83]

      [2] Mattsen, John A. (2000, January 15). Big surpluses, but not enough to pay teachers decent salary. Star Tribune, p. A17. [FD3-84]

      February 24, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JohnPaulNow

    Why did Walker exempt the police and fire department unions from his edict? Police and firemen are now among the highest paid civil servants in the country along with the most generous retirement packages. Their unions have been known to hold entire cities hostage until their demands are met. Let Walker include the police and fire departments of Wisconsin in his union breaking proposals and just watch how fast he shuts down.

    February 23, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • carolo

      The police and firemen have no escaped this. If the union goes, it also goes for them.

      February 23, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ray Peace

    I hope people realize this is not about the Teachers, Employees, of the state. This is about the Union, they are pulling the strings and getting everyone worked up, dance puppets, dance.

    February 23, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jo

    "Thousands are now standing, shouting and chanting in the city Wednesday, voicing their opposition to what Republican Gov. Scott Wilson calls a "Budget Repair" bill that would force state workers to increase their contributions to their pensions and health insurance benefits. Wilson said the bill must pass to head off a $3.6 billion budget gap by 2013 – and layoffs."
    This bill is not just forcing state workers to increase contributions to their pensions and health benefits. The bill also strips public employees of collective bargaining rights and will allow Governor Walker to sell power plants used to heat and cool government buildings to private companies without taking any bids. If you are going to report a story, make sure you tell the entire story. I expected better of you CNN.

    February 23, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. banasy

    Hi, Ray Peace,
    Which union? Do tell, so I can see which evil union we need to cut the strings from. Name one, please?

    February 23, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • blath

      I can name an evil union, it is the Diesel Workers Union. I was a member and seen what the union did to company. I seen 2 people get fired because they went into the auditorium and hid behind a big screen tv to sleep. They got caught and fired, but four months later they got their jobs back with full back pay because they didn't get a verbal and written warning followed by a 3 day lay off. That is how anything you can possibly do wrong goes because of the union. So now the company can not even fire people who obviously need fired without having to go through a ridiculous process. Hell, you could go to work on any drugs, legal or otherwise, and tell everyone that you are under the influence. When they come down to fire you all you have to say is I have a problem and need help. Then you aren't fired, they pay for rehab, and when you come back to work you get a raise. Screw unions, they ruin jobs. As for tenure and teachers, get rid of all the bad teachers that have been in the school system for years. I had a biology teacher that just read word for word out of the text book without ever looking up at the class, she retired and still gets paid. The schools could have saved money and hired a baby sitter and just gave us the books.

      February 23, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Al K

    What about those doctors that are phonying up excuses for demonstrators. In most states that's fraud. It seems that most of these protestors want it both ways. They want to protest & get paid for it by using phony doctor's notes. All on the taxpayers' dime.

    February 23, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Brandon

    After years of working with and around unionized labor, I am happy that people have finally elected officials to force the laziest and most over paid factions of our society to actually contribute SOMETHING to the society. They want everything and don't care at all who pays for it. This bill is the result of years and years of mooching and intolerable laziness from millions of people who don't give a Damn about the country that they are bullying and stealing from.

    February 23, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Gene

    The governor of Wisconsin is Scott WALKER, not Wilson.

    Come on CNN.

    February 23, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. banasy

    Brandon, you are clearly either in management, or a salaried employee who has never been in a union and has no idea how one really operates. I have yet to see any *union* people saying this is a good idea. All I see are the company guys singing the company's tune. So how about it, Brandon? What was you job? Care to share?

    February 23, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
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