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 Moveon.org 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. JLopez2011

    I live in Miami and the last year with the all Foreclosure (everyine know that Miami is number one) and all the problems that we have our Mayor decide to give 8% rise to the Public Worker and Rise the Property taxes to paid for it and you tell me that is fair and nobody on the Unions Protest or do anything at all, and we the people that paid taxes has to lost the homes to keep that Employers Salaries and Pensions. The whole thing has going to far and in the last 10-15 years nobody said nothing and when somebody trying to reach an agreement they fast treat with go strike. The time come now to stop all this mess.

    March 1, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. mageen

    Brought up in a union family and married a union man. The union my father belonged to saved his life by paying for heart surgery for himself and my mother. Remember, the first responders who ran into the Twin Towers on 9/11 were union members and the majority of them never made it out in time. I still pray for their souls. I also wonder if you remember what the level of $$ was at the CEO level when the unions were vigorous? The top tier earned a lot but it was tolerable because the people on the assembly line earned enough to buy the cars they were making. Without unions the top tier has just abut all the $$ in this country and the people on the assembly line have largely disappeared. I do think there is some kind of connection here.

    March 1, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. DoctorWHO

    What is the cutoff for Middle Class. I was reading some electrician in Detroit was out of work for 2 years because his 140k job plus benefits went away and he doesn't seem to want to work unless he gets what he thinks he should be paid. Well you want more money – learn something NEW. Is middle Class 40k, 100k. per year what is it.

    Showing up for 20-30 years at a government union job does what? I was at one county hospital where their cost was 50% higher than the private hospital, it took over 10 people to order a box of paper. They also had lots of 200-500k patronage jobs for former politicians and friends – these people did NOTHING. Now imagine all those salaries, pensions, health-care and more. the jobs were overlapping and you could not downsize without a fight. So what happens the citizens in the county have to pay for the loss at the facility.

    Many of these people are making 80-120k per year with benefits and very generous retirement programs

    My Friend worked for 21 years for American Standard in the 60-70's and his pension at 65 was about 1500 per year. A COP in NYC who retired at 44, ran up tons of overtime before retirement and is getting over 120k per year plus benefits.

    March 1, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • MiddleClass

      did you read that in Bush's book

      March 1, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • DoctorWHO

      never read the book, was online somewhere detroit, cleveland, cincy somewhere like that. He was complaining that they were hurting but he did not want to work unless he had a job with benefits and 6 figures. Well 2 years is a long time to add to your skill set and improve your position or work as an independent. I Know the next thing will be the unions don't let you work as an independent. If that is true then is it a union or a mafia.

      March 1, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. John Calif

    How about these union thugs just join their FleeBagger friends. No one cares to hear you scream racism, bigot blame Bush ect....

    March 1, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dan Tan

    Pres. Obama stated it clearly SHARED RESPONSIBILITY unfortunately all these Republican Governors wants is to let the middle class and the working poor shoulder all the responsibilities, why, because they are consider expendable while the rich get their tax cuts, the middle class and the poor get job cuts! It is time Americans take their State and country back, it is time for a recall and impeach those governors, American voters got betrayed when they voted for the Republicans to help them with their jobs not cutting them off.

    March 1, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • George

      That is it! I cannot read any more of these sad liberal comments. The libs on this site have shown the world over that they are the most ignorant, uninformed, un-american not to mention stupid people on the planet!

      March 1, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Pam From Houston

    I am sick that teachers are being blamed for state budgets. Remember when Wall Street stole the money! I mean gambled the money away. The Bailout! And yet they got to keep their tax cut and the rest of us are getting a wage cut. REPEAT AFTER ME – TEACHERS ARE NOT RICH!

    March 1, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Against unions (bullies)

      Im not rich either. Im not a teacher and im a working class American.. i took a pay cut last year. So you would rather fight for your raise and not sacrifice a pay cut to help out everyone? My job and my raises are based on my performance. Not on a contract that says im guaranteed.

      Go look at the Football team the Oakland Raiders. Their "starter quarterback" guaranteed contract for 15million. What did he do? he stopped playing like he was worth 15million and sucked. Now he walks away with 15 million even though he was at the bottom of the list. THATS what teachers are doing.

      If you are a good teacher by all means keep on teaching and keep on educating our youth. I support good teachers but deep down we all know how we perform at our jobs.

      March 1, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. AmazedinVA

    Funny ain't it. During good times, public workers are "fools" for not chasing the private sector dollars, and when times turn bad, public workers are "leaches" for not chasing the private sector dollars.

    Obey your corporate overlords, I'm sure they've promised to kill you last.

    March 1, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Coldstar

      Government (public) workers have ALWAYS been leeches...there's no other way, they take from the productive part of society and HOPEFULLY return at least a little in the form of some labor...but, since they're not taxpayers, that makes them leeches by definition.

      March 1, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • AmazedinVA

      Not sure where you get your information, but public employees pay taxes just like everyone else.

      March 1, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Coldstar

      They DO NOT PAY TAXES...they simply return a little of the taxes that were paid to them. This is not rocket science...if I give you a $1.00 and you give me $.10, you DID NOT PAY ME...I'm out $.90.

      STOP SPREADING LIES.

      March 1, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      Public employees pay taxes too. Leeches suck blood from a host......wait just like Big Business in the form of huge tax breaks, subsidies, and Military spending.....Stop buying 100billion$$ weapon systems that either dont work or will not get used and fix the issues in America...

      March 1, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      Coldstar...where do you think every road, sign, water pipe, dam, power grid, ect.... came from....the private sector? The government does produce things.....or maybe you would like to live in the middle of nowhere with no power, roads, clean water or the ability to communicate with anyone else....well maybe we dont need to hear what you have to say....

      March 1, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. local

    You are an idiot. How about cutting excessive benefits. Did you know a teacher can get ANY medical procedure with their benefit package. Yes this does include things like, cosmetic surgery, breast enlargements, liposuction, collegen treatments and so on. Did you know that teachers pay less than 10 percent towards their health care costs. How is your pension doing, most in the private sector no longer have one of those. Goverment, public employees beware. THE PARTY IS OVER. It is time you idiots join the real world.

    March 1, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • AmazedinVA

      Maybe you should become a teacher?

      March 1, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • MiddleClass

      If you can't convince them with the facks dazzle them with bull--

      March 1, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Stan

    The middle-class are just now taking their gloves off. Time to get back at the rich and the Republicans that have been dong their dirty work for them for the last 20-some years.

    March 1, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • George

      Wow! Frightening bold statement. Please check your grammar.

      March 1, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ajax

    When are the CEOs and fat cats going to take a pay cut?

    March 1, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Against unions (bullies)

    Against unions (bullies)

    Im against unions. All they do is protect the lazy bad workers. Yeah there good workers... but you should be able to get rid of bad workers that are costing you more than they should. All that unions do is set their goals and fight until they reach them. They wont even negotiate any lower.

    One of my friends was making 30 bucks an hour working an assembly line on a manufacturing plant. He was 3 years younger and had college education. While I on the other hand was making 25 bucks an hour with a school degree and im still paying that loan off. Really? i get to bust my butt for school so that some guy who thinks he deserves 30 bucks an hour to screw things together makes fights for his right to make a lot of money while other people are struggling to get through school and are very hard workers?

    I took a pay cut last year when we hit the recession..(i still have my job and that im thankful for) NO ONE should be exempt to take a loss or a cut to help support our system. Stop being greedy.. we all took a hit. Id rather have a pay cut than to lose my income.

    I hope this spreads to california.. t here are plenty of school teachers that need to go from my local school district. We need to get the U.S. its education pride back. Stop supporting lazy and unproductive teachers we already have too many of them.

    March 1, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Con me not

      It's obvious the reason you are against teachers is the fact you never went to school.

      March 1, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tiser

      A unionized public employee, a Tea partier, and a CEO are sitting at a table. In the middle of the table is a plate with a dozen cookies on it. The CEO reaches across and takes 11 cookies, looks at the Tea partier and says, "Watch out for that union guy. He wants a piece of your cookie."

      March 1, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. LittleChe

    Jasmine revolution arrived in US. Bomb the White House!

    March 1, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. blah9999

    Unions are archaic and detrimental to the US workforce. They were very necessary back in FDR times when there weren't any government regulations in place for workers. Now there are many regulations that benefit workers and unions are useless. I was in a union once (involuntarily forced into a union) and all they did was take my money each month for dues. I had no benefit from that union.

    March 1, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • ZweiStein

      You got your pay....overtime pay....40hr work week....vacation.....medical insurance....etc. all because that union made it possible for your dumb, unappreciative azz, years and years ago.

      March 1, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ggallardo

    Republicans are out of control the rich got them in their pockets ,when they say the american people the really mean only the rich americans

    March 1, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. SPP

    A Wisconsin Democrat Assemblyman turned to a Republican Assemblywoman in the middle of a legislative session Friday and said, "You are f–king dead."

    Why is this not news to CNN in this new era of civility?

    March 1, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
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