Protests grow louder in Ohio, Indiana
Protesters rally last week at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus against a bill curbing public workers' collective-bargaining rights.
March 1st, 2011
01:36 PM ET

Protests grow louder in Ohio, Indiana

As Wisconsin's pro-union protests rage, a huge crowd in Ohio is gathering Tuesday for the event "Rally to Save Ohio's Middle Class." The movement, which reportedly could draw 20,000 people, is being documented live on Facebook. The AFL-CIO also is tweeting the event.

Protesters are demanding lawmakers drop a bill that would end Ohio public employees' right to collective bargaining. An Ohio Senate committee has said it will revise and vote this week on the legislation that would affect about 350,000 state workers, teachers, public safety employees and others.

And in Indiana, lawmakers have stooped to name-calling in a debate that pits union forces against legislators who want to undo union rights.

Are you in the middle of any of it? Send an iReport.

Though the stakes are different in each state, what is clear is that a fight in Wisconsin has ballooned into a huge national debate pitting Republicans against Democrats. President Barack Obama voiced his support for public workers Monday, and the liberal activist group has been staging demonstrations across the nation in support of unions.

The debate is loaded with nuance and complexity, and informed by the history of unionizing in the United States, Slate points out. USA Today analyzed the numbers and on Tuesday reported that Wisconsin is one of 41 states where public workers earn higher average pay and benefits than private workers in the same state.

The Columbus, Ohio, City Council opposes legislation in its state because members say it would hurt families, CNN affiliate WBNS-TV in Columbus reported. The council said it wants more discussion on ways to fix the state budget shortfall.

"We want to sit across from our police officers and our firefighters," council member Zach Klein told WBNS. "We want them to know that we're supporting our teachers and other working families, to have an arms-length, reasonable conversation about wages and benefits, and that's exactly what collective bargaining has done."

In Mahoning County, Ohio, Democrat David Betras decried the bill as an "assault on middle class values," according to CNN affiliate WKBN-TV in Youngstown. He told the station, "It puts political patronage and cronyism back into our public employees. We want to keep that out. Public employees do a good job. ..."

E-mails from as far away as Germany and Scotland have been flooding the offices of House members, The Columbus Dispatch said. One office reported receiving more than 10,000 e-mails, according to the paper.

Protesting hasn't gotten as heated as the political rhetoric in Indiana. Lawmakers started the week by meeting behind closed doors at an Urbana hotel to negotiate legislation. It went downhill quickly.

State Rep. Charlie Brown, a Gary Democrat, called Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma a "windbag," CNN affiliate WRTV-TV in Indianapolis reported. "He's a 6-foot-4, 230-pound windbag," Brown said. "He doesn't know how to negotiate. He doesn't know how to move his ego aside and get down to the nitty-gritty."

Brown told the station that Bosma had "backed himself into a corner" and "doesn't know how to fight his way out of it." Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels referred to Democrats spending time in the hotel's pool and hot tub, WRTV reported.

In Wisconsin, Republican Gov. Scott Walker has threatened massive layoffs if his bill limiting collective-bargaining rights for public-sector employees doesn't pass. The bill also would force public workers to cover more of their retirement plans and health care premiums. Watch Walker discuss the bill and the state's projected $3.6 billion budget gap by 2013. Wisconsin's 14 Democratic senators have left the state and gone to Illinois to prevent a quorum of 20 votes needed for the budget repair bill to pass.

Passage of the bill would limit collective bargaining to wages. Any pay increases beyond the rate of inflation would be subject to voter approval.

Pro-union forces say the governor is trying to curb long-held labor rights under the guise of fiscal responsibility.

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Filed under: Illinois • Indiana • Ohio • Protest • Wisconsin
soundoff (1,061 Responses)
  1. AndrewAFB

    If Georgia Pacific/Koch Industries along with their Tea Party/Republican puppets have their way it will be the last nail in the coffin of the middle class and blue-collar workers everywhere in America. Boycott all GP (Georgia Pacific) products and Koch industries. They are also one of the biggest polluters in the Nation/World poisoning our air and drinking water and making billions in the process. Look it up, if you don't believe me.

    March 1, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • mhavis1

      I agree with you about the assault on the middle class. soon there will be only two classes:the very rick and the very poor

      March 1, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Arienette

      March 1, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Knucklehead

      Right on! No more GP! No more Koch Industries! The people are speaking!

      March 1, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • bender

      So lets bring down the very people that do the hiring so everyone will work for the State like in a Communist country?

      March 1, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fichts

      "So let's bring down the people who do the hiring", yes they actually do do the hiring. IN COMMUNIST COUNTRIES. Look down at where your merchandise was made, that's what happens when you let corporations regulate themselves.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • bailoutsos

      Does yelling fill the bank account to pay for the demands?

      March 1, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • TryLogic


      I mean, I don't understand it, or even why it's a problem, but it sounds really scary!! I'll use it to scare people away from actually considering the issues.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • ccctrio

      I am from Flint, MI (home of the infamous "Sitdown Strike" against General Motors. We are going backwards in America giving the white collar workers preference over the blue collar (middle class) worker. What would America do, or any other country for that matter if a massive "sitdown strike" was staged to support the middle class worker and to save our unions. Unions may leave a sour taste in your mouth but a few things unions did for the American worker are: equitable wages, benefits, clean working conditions, a lunch hour, two (2) fifteen minute breaks, etc. My father began working for General Motors in the early 1930's for .10 cents per hour. We had come a long way in the mid 70's until the government made a long range goal to put American in the poverty lines and we all can become slaves to the corporate giants. WHAT DO YOU WANT?

      March 1, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Dude

      GP hires union workers so in reality aren't you hurting the union workers if you boycott GP products? I think the Koch brothers will be just fine if you never bought another roll of TP from them.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Harold Anderson


      I agree!

      March 1, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • George Wenston

      The Republicans were going to be your saviors after the "horrible" Dems were taking this country into the "depths of hell ". You got em, now enjoy them. Stop whining and stand up for your choices.....

      March 1, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • someredneck

      Aaawww, look at those poor idiots that want things the easy way. WAKE UP, THIS IS AMERICA AND NOTHING IS FREE!!!!

      March 1, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • bailoutsos

      Wow. They do not like what is happening and they get to scream at their boss. If screamed at my boss and refused to leave the premises, the cops will be here to escort me out.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      When did unions think they become immune to poor economic conditions? Private sector employee's have seen wages stagnate and insurance costs rise. It happens when the economy is bad. Look around. Are unions that blind? In the real world, when real companies start to lose money they tighten their belt. Time for unions to get a grasp of that concept.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • louiext

      @ccctrio – Using GM as a reference is not helping your cause as pro-union. Considering that GM went from a global market controller to government bailout in a span of half a century mostly because of the excessive costs demanded by unions... yeah. okay.

      Unions don't help the middle class, they take away from it. The teachers have to pay unions, we pay teachers, its a loss all around. Unions cost the gov't more money as well. No public worker should get a pension when the private sector has phased them out 10 years ago because they are not logical.

      These teachers need to wake up and realize that the governer, for the first time, is acting in THEIR interest! Unions are horrible. The only people supporting unions are the horrible, worthless teachers who hide behind them. The good teachers, the public are the ones who suffer... while the lazy, bad teachers and union bigwigs all enjoy their free money.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Are death threats really necessary? get it together guys

      March 1, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      First of all I think the real problem is that these states can not afford the LIFE TIME Health Benefits and Pensions that make these people make more retired than employed. As a resident of NJ I am sadden when I read the paper to see that these employees have benefits that are over the top compared to the average taxpayer. These rights they are fighting for are at the expense of EVERY Residents of each state and people are tired of it!!! 2nd Why are these people fighting contributing to their benefits just like the millions of other private sector TAXPAYERS do!! Lets wake up and realize reform needs to take place. Both sides need to meet and come up with a long term plan that doesn't saddle huge debt and high taxes on ALL classes of Americans!!

      March 1, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • TRouble

      Shut down unions NOW!

      March 1, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • LibsRliars

      That is the dumbest thing I think I have ever heard the tea party IS the middle class hard workers unlike the half year whining teachers making more than the REAL middle class and the REAL middle class does not lie to get out of work! First off protests require permits esp on government property they are costing COSTING tax payers millions to protest illegally and disrupt meetings and endanger lawmakers. After the liberal shot the blue dog dem in AZ you think they would have learned you cannot trust criminal violent liberals (who make p 98% of or our violent incarcerated prisoners). Union thugs leaders make several hundred thousand dollar (claimed) income while residing in mansions costing millions and vacationing with the family at (union) meetings in Florida......frankly th Govenor has been too weak on these protesters to em all, incarcerate em all and yes USE teargas and arrests to clear em out and regain law and order and lesson the damage to the capitol building and abusive costs to law enforcement.......thirty days in jail with their employers informed why they are missing work (for real why) thn they might look for new work in a socialist failure state like Illnois, Wisconsin is just trying to clean up te mess from a democrat controlled congress.............same with our federal congress...........

      March 1, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Righton

      I used to live in a town with a GP mill. The workers there thought they needed more money. I know at one point (~2002) new employees were making $17/hour to push a broom. A lot of guys stole paper from there and sold it to my employer, tools, if it wasn't nailed down someone took it. Also, people would brag about their daily naps they took WHILE GETTING PAID. Anyway, these union workers decided that they weren't making enough and wanted to strike. GP told them that if they did they would shut the mill down b/c it was loosing money and they couldn't pay anymore. The union called their bluff and went on strike. 2 days later the front gates were locked up and the mill was closed permanently. 400 jobs were lost at the mill alone, and countless others throughout the community. Today, the mill is used for a research facility by the local university and the state. It employs, at the most, 100 people. From my standpoint, I don't believe that unions always do the best for their worker base.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • ABG

      ccctrio – equality in wages. Really you believe that. Maybe if you are a man. Unions a designed by men for men. I quit my last job because of the Union I was forced to enter. No choice I had to pay the fees. Who cares that I couldn't afford it and that they did nothing to help me. My union wouldn't even take maternity leave to the table. The good thing is the men all got new trucks they could drive home on the taxpayers money. free gas cards too. Meanwhile the women suffered with the cost of childcare, getting days off to match school days off and what to do if they got pregnant. You know all the things women deal with every day but aren't important enough for unions to negotiate. Do you really think we cared if we got a slight raise. I would have made more if they had just given me my union fees back. Unions don't know what equality means. They are a bunch of thugs looking out for there own kind. Take them all down and make people earn their positions and benefits. No more free rides on taxpayer money.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      CNN poisoned the well by showing a picture of three angry pro-union protestors screaming instead of showing the crowd. For some reason (cough corporate news) they seem intent on painting the workers of this country with the same brush as the non-worker/retiree teabaggers they're hosting a debate for. Which side is this company on? Answer: whatever side Time Warner tells them to be on.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike Sa

      If the unions do such a great job defending the middle class, why are you worried about the middle class. If it's in trouble it has happened while unions watched.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry

      Look it up? Where? Wikipedia or the Huffington Post? Go back to your parents basement, moron.

      March 1, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • bailoutsos

      Anyone of the thousands of protesters could have run for governor, right? Then they could decide.

      March 1, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • bailoutsos

      Anyone of the thousands of protesters could have run for state governor, right?

      March 1, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. meee

    Who cares this countrys going to fall and rightfully so since we've turned our backs on God He has turned His back on us. .book of Romans will tell even the dumbest of posters that

    March 1, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kyle

      God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH That's all you people talk about

      March 1, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • TryLogic

      Hmmm, what about Garfield and his rejected pizza-based economy?

      That makes about as much sense to me as what you're proposing.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • TryLogic

      Side note: What about the most intelligent posters who realize that they should be getting their facts from more than one book written by humans 2000 years ago?

      March 1, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • greg

      You certainly know Dumbest!

      March 1, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Northview

      Yes. The book of Romans was most assuredly speaking about teachers striking in Wisconsin I'm certain of it. It is indeed the turning of the past 2000 years. I heading for my prayer closet the end is here.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peter

      Believe in Jesus or not, if everyone lived by his example we'd be in a much better world. Businesses would be in it to provide a service and not for the greed. Someone could make a post wih out having haters ridicule his beliefs. I could go on forever.

      March 1, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. i rock


    March 1, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Centrist

    A part of me kinda hopes things fall apart, so me and a few buddies can go hunting rich old white men. Ultimately I'd like to see everyone get what they want. There's no reason why the working class can't be compensated fairly while CEOs get rich as well. This is America where rich and poor should be looked at as equal.

    March 1, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Saxxon

      So, all black, yellow, red, brown, green, blue, clear, etc., rich men are going to be safe from you and your redneck buddies?

      March 1, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeremy

      Compensated fairly? Oh, are you the one who decides how much you should be compensated? Silly me, I thought the owners/bosses/people who put their money on the line to start the business, decided what is 'fair'. You know what, if the wage is too low, quit. If nobody applies for their job, then they will raise the wage, and attract better workers. See, that's how the free market works. They will pay what the job is worth, not the person. Get over yourself and your 'fairness.'

      March 1, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  5. guest

    Middle class are on their way out. Most are already living pay check to pay check. The Koch brother's will own America with the help of Republicans.

    March 1, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bender

    They mean that the buses have just arrived with more out of state protesters.Unions love to pay unemployed bums to come and shout at other people for their lazy azz benefit!These slobs want to get paid for not doing their jobs!

    March 1, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Knucklehead

      While their rightful place is working for the CEOs, who deserve everything they get. Everything.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • sandy

      You are clueless buddy, You must watch too much tv, if you think the public sector unions, like teachers, or the construction workers who only work when economy dictates, are lazy, poor, or bums, you need to get educated a little. You want to talk about bums and welfare, you may want to mention corporate america who just got that tax break for the wealthy reinstated on the back of the unemployed working people. Now thats welfare,

      March 1, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • ryandote

      If they don't work for the CEOs.... who, pray tell, should they work for? Senators and Congressmen? Are they any less corrupt?

      March 1, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. realistic

    Why do only unions have pensions while I have to invest in 401K? my 401k can take while the pension is guaranteed payout from tax dollars.

    That's a little unfair. We should just have pensions for everyone then

    March 1, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • SweetLou

      Yes, we should. Which is why we should ALL have collective bargaining rights. Join a union.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • dannycco

      Because state employees pay into the pension system just like you pay into your 401k. We don't have the option of a 401k. Pensions are pooled money so the state can earn money on the interest, just like you earn money on your 401k. So pensions create millions of dollars for the states.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • D. Guajardo

      Union members have pensions because their union fought for those pensions. If you are complaining because you only have a 401k , you need to join a union! If there isn't one, then start one!

      March 1, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • dd1950

      You complain about having to fund 401(k) retirement accounts while public employees have pensions. Other private sector employees have pensions. They are the ones represented by unions!

      March 1, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vigla

      Sure, that's because pensions were too nice of a perk for private companies to give out, since they were 100% funded by the employer. To save money, they dropped pensons and forced everyone into 401K's, where they may or may not match you contributions and your money is in the stock market instead of a guaranteed fund. It's pathetic. When there is no unions, that is what will happen. Benefits will erode away to benefit the stockholders and the corporate elite.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bzarr

      Simple–Grow a set Join a Union!

      March 1, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • job killer

      Actually, pensions are not tax dollars. It is money that is earned and is put into a pooled account to be invested. It is money that, rather than taking it as compensation now, is paid out later. Like social security. These people have been paying into this, just like you would pay into a 401k plan.

      March 1, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. devosays

    hooligans, slackers, thugs oh my!! Get back to work you bottom feeders!!

    March 1, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. robert aplegate


    March 1, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richxx

      Sconnie Guz that is a real brilliant reply. Did you go to Harvard to learn to speak with such insight.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vigla

      Robert's reply was no better... At least one of them was funny.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bzarr

      Nothing new- We were doing that 80 years ago. How do you think the eight hour day came about? or overtime, or the 40 hour week, or paid vacation, or sick days etc. etc. ect.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Harold Anderson

      I hope you are in the top 10% of the wealthiest Americans. Becuase this is just the tip of the iceberg. When the Wealthy and the Politicians realize they can crush Unions. The next stop will be crush the Middle Class and take way all of our rights. It is already happening as we speak. Pick a side, because...

      Class Warfare is on its way in America!

      March 1, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. greg

    Are you for the unions or are a Koch sucker, take a stand!

    March 1, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. devosays

    send in a 100 thousand Americans with no jobs and let them fight it out!!!

    March 1, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Knucklehead

      I think you just described the future.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. BustDaUnion

    You all need to stop. The Unions need to be busted. There is no reason for a GED grad to get paid $75 per hour to pick up trash. Go to school and get some education then you will be paid.

    March 1, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • SconnieGuz

      Yeah that's a nice theory....however, complete BS. I was a top ten student in HS, served my country, got out and went to school (years ago) and now have an associates and bachelors in accounting and guess what my pay is????? 13.25. Big fricken whoopty doo....going to school does not automatically qualify you for good pay. I've been waiting to get paid for 10 years now....should i go get a masters now too??? Maybe i can get 15/hour then!!!:(

      March 1, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • SweetLou

      Only if you move to India where American jobs now are...

      March 1, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Concerned Citizen

      State workers affected by these bills are uniformly very well educated, compared to the average American. And, trust me, none are making $75 an hour. Except for some high-level administrators, who aren't part of any contract negotiated through collective bargaining.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • ryandote

      Sconnie –

      If you want to get paid more, maybe you should develop a skill that people value more. duh?

      March 1, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • ryandote

      There is no such thing as a guarantee. It is absolutely senile to guarantee pensions that you won't be paying out until 40 years from now.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • xxsevensxx

      BustDaUnion, two questions. First, where is the data that backs up your statement that a public sector trash collector makes $75 an hour. Second, if that's true, why aren't YOU clamoring for that job?

      March 1, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Workers have the right to unionize and engage in collective bargaining.. anyone who attempts to rob someone of such a basic right is a traitor and deserves to be treated as such.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Seriously???

      The average salary for garbage man jobs is $24,000 a year

      March 1, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. LarryM

    I'm part of the middle class and non-union. The unions don't speak for all workers.

    March 1, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • ProperVillain

      I've been happily non-union my entire career. I agree. Only the people who don't like to work hard and can't stand on their own merits need unions. The rest of us stand or fall on our own work ethic.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vigla

      You are a dying breed. If the company wants to take away your benefits, you have no choice but to accept it.

      March 1, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. bailoutsos

    Will yelling fill the bank account to pay for the demands?

    March 1, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Baruch

    Spinnnnn... the protests in Wisconsin are not "raging" they are very peaceful and friendly.

    It would behoove the corporate media (I know I am crazy to suggest this but) to STOP sensationalizing and to actually report what is happening. Peacefully 100's of thousands of people across this country are waking up to the fact that the republican plan is to bankrupt everyone and turn everything over to the corporations. People are saying no to that, which is a good thing. The complacency that has been the hallmark of the American electorate for too long is lifting. Halleluja!

    March 1, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • irene

      If the GOP backing groups (NRA) were protesting, they would be brandishing guns and somebody would have been shot by now. I don't agree with the pension benefits unionized workers get at our expense, but they have proven to be peaceful demonstrators and should be allowed to continue collective bargaining.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
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