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. leeintulsa

    Banasy, I value your opinion. Here's mine. The union is dead in tulsa. If I joined, I'd have to tramp to other states. I get good pay in the not union world. I pay for half my personal medical, dependents I pay full. I get 4 to 6 holidays a year. If I don't like my job, I can quit. I have an uncle who retired BEW in california. We're Electricians. If he moves from there, he gets no medical. Has to drive to cali to fill prescriptions. I digress. They are complaining about paying 2/3 of what I'm paying instead of a quarter. Can't feel too sorry for em.

    February 23, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. lmartinez

    Who is paying for the "mini"vacations the runaway Dems are taking?Why Are they hiding in Il. Something just does not seem right.

    February 23, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. lmartinez

    King abdulla,do u know dr bad? Miss him.

    February 23, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. SherryAnnPen

    Hellooooo CNN – have literally posted a comment about 5 – 6 times. It's a relevant comment. Two and a half hours later, it's still not here. What's the deal?

    February 23, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • SherryAnnPen

      Of all the posts I tried to post, THIS is the one that shows up? ::shaking my head::

      February 23, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. banasy

    @leeintulsa:

    I value your, too.
    Perhaps unions are dead in Tulsa; you would know that, living there. I live in one of the states in that this is relevant in...and unions are alive and well here. I am only stating what I know to be true here; the area in which the unions are the most active are the industrial areas that unions were basically formed to protect. That the unions has spread to other occupations doesn't make them any less effective. My father was a union man in the steel mills, and the economy being what they are, his pension was done away with for his widow, my mother. But I begrudge the economy, not the unions. And neither does my mum, bless her heart.

    Traditionally, it's blue collar, (the workers) against the white collar (the mgrs and owners). Or, if you like, the middle class against the wealthy. Unions were created to try to balance them out. Abolishing them wouldn't accomplish a thing, and only set America back about 100 years or so.

    But that's only *my* opinion, which is why we get to blog!!
    🙂

    February 23, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. carolo

    Ironic isn't it that all these new republicans should decide to all go after the unions all at once. Sure sounds like it was all planned out to me. If their states are so poor then why did they vote for those big Bush Tax Cuts? Makes no sense to give to the rich "again" then taking from the unionized workers who are only asking for their bargaining rights.

    In Wisconsin, Walkers threatens to lay off 150,000 workers. How much will their unemployment cost the State? Just think........this is what the Republicans are calling "job creation".

    February 23, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. rhino4362

    Oh! Let see taxpayers money go to creating jobs in our country, but now they say they get to much,I never heard of anyone getting paid to much, maybe I wish I was I could make decent money, even the CEO that get a huge bonus never complained they recieved to much. But the corporation who benefit from the tax breaks seem to also create jobs but most of these jobs tend to be overseas. Now people like the Koch brothers who benefit off of goverment contracts, which the last time I looked was funded with taxpapers money, feel they have the right to use money they recieved from hard working taxpayers to create a society that has no voice, with short term goals of creating a society that is govern by the corporations not by the people. Sometimes I feel what the use then I see poverty creeping one street more then the next , I realize if i sit silent I must agree that what they are doing is right, then shame on me and shame on you.

    February 23, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sundiata O M

    The Unions...People must think... What next The child Labor Laws?????

    February 23, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. chuckvac

    these f@#$%^g republicans seem to forget that we are dealing with at least 100 yrs of fiscal ineptness ,corruption and abuse on a part of politicians which we are paying for now. I say open season on all politicians!!

    February 23, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doug

      Careful, Chuck...that's probably what someone said in Arizona recently.

      February 23, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. banasy

    Non-union Eric, you've GOT to be kidding! They are taking union pensions away left and right! These companies use pension money to gamble on stocks and bonds; when they lose the pension money, do you think that the CEO's would give up their bonus money to pay it back? Of course not. When they want to cut benefits, do you think that bonuses would go? Nope, it's their small medical benefits! Are you even from this planet? Did you even READ any of the previous posts? Of course you didn't! Do you think that it is the union guys WHOSE BACKS HAVE TOILED TO BUILD THE INDUSTRIES THE REPUBLICANS HAVE GIVEN AWAY TO THEIR BIG BUSINESS CRONIES
    are the ones who are a drain on our economy? Your name says it all. I really hope whatever employment you have is good and stable, because when you get fired at the whim of some CFO, you just might wish that you had an organization that would have let your voice be heard.

    February 23, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. tony in fl

    I am a union employee in the private sector, my anger is slowly disappearing because i just realized something......because of this coordinated attack on the labor movement...what do we think 2012 will look like in the voting booth? now the argument can be made that union workforce is only 12% of working population but even half of republican voters are against this all out attack (check gallup polls) this will only embolden the voter response next year...just wait you heard it here first!! in the mean time i hope the people in wis. recall the gov. simply because of the prank call proving this has nothing to do with the budget.

    February 23, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. banasy

    "... bearing the burden of employment for life, guaranteed pensions, and huge benefit packages on the backs of taxpayers."

    Sounds like politicians to me!

    February 23, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. banasy

    @tony in fl:
    From your lips to God's ears!

    (Or, from your lips to the voter's ears!)

    February 23, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Doug

    Oh my goodness! Are you kidding me? Actually use performance instead of time in position when determining who should stay vs. who should go? Provide raises to those who perform best (regardless of tenure) rather than always giving higher raises to people who have been there longer?!?!? Ask workers to pay 20% of their own health care premiums when most private company employees are paying 50%??? Change it so that workers who don't belong to the union don't have to have money deducted for union dues anyway??? My gosh, what kind of crazy crazy thinking is this anyway??? How unreasonable!

    Fact is, in Ohio you can retire after working for 25 years, get close to 90% of your last year's pay for the REST OF YOUR LIFE, and STILL be hired back by your same school district as a contract employee and double dip. Does that seem fair/reasonable/logical to ANYONE? And tell me WHY merit increases shouldn't be based on merit...on how good a job someone does. What gets incented gets done...and if all you reward is tenure, all you're going to incent is longevity. When you reward tenure, you incent (and get) excellence...regardless of whether someone is new or been there a long time.

    February 23, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. banasy

    It's called due process. And every contract that is signed between a company and the union has a series of check and balances in it. What these workers did was against policy; but so was the way they were fired. Due process must be adhered to; that's why they got their jobs back. And remember, this process is what the company agreed to, also!

    Of course there abuses in unions; I'm not denying that. But there are far more abuses in big business, which is why unions were formed in the first place!

    February 23, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
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