March 8th, 2011
06:04 PM ET

Tired but undaunted, Wisconsin protesters continue to make themselves heard

Francis Clark walked away from the Wisconsin capitol building in Madison with protest signs under his arms and leaned against a stone ledge.

"Man, we're tired. We need a day off," the chef from Madison said Tuesday to anyone walking by who would listen.

For three weeks, tens of thousands of protesters and union supporters from around the Midwest have flocked to Madison to rally against Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to eliminate most collective bargaining powers from state worker unions.

The crowds have thinned since the ferocious early days of protests, but  protest chants still echoed through the golden halls of this gorgeous capitol building on Tuesday.

In the rotunda, union supporters took turns leading the crowd in protest chants. A woman held up a sign that read, "Walker's Bill is Sick. I know, I'm a nurse." And a small group of firefighters marched around the rotunda showing solidarity with the union protesters. (Police and firefighters will not lose their collective bargaining powers under the governor's proposal.)

All of this took place just feet away from the Republican governor's office. There's no question that the governor could hear the chants of the protesters as he worked to end the legislative stalemate.

On the capitol grounds, Walker is rarely seen outside his office. He did step out Tuesday to rip the Democrats who fled to Illinois. One Democrat in particular, Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller, took the brunt of the governor's lashing. In the press conference, Walker called the meeting idea "ridiculous" and said Miller was blocking compromise.

CNN has made repeated attempts to reach Miller the last few days and he has not returned our phone calls. But other Democratic senators who fled to Illinois say they support Miller and that the group remains unified.

The protesters at the capitol refer to the Democrats as "The Fab 14." Several Democratic senators say the group meets daily to discuss whether to return to Madison. Some are still hopeful that a compromise can be reached this week but others remain extremely skeptical.

"Negotiations with the governor’s office have broken down," Sen. Chris Larson said. "He’s not negotiating at all."

Larson argues that recent polls suggest the Democrats are gaining the upper hand in the battle over public opinion and that the senators will stay away as long as needed to get concessions from Gov. Walker. But Walker says the last election was the mandate he needed to make these changes.

In the meantime, Francis Clark keeps coming back to the capitol. He's tired but not giving up.

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Filed under: Gov. Scott Walker • Labor • Politics • Wisconsin
soundoff (83 Responses)
  1. L64

    Well, pearls before swine. Until you do it yourself you have only igorant opinions. Ignorance can be overcome by education but only if you choose it. Night all.

    March 8, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mr. Lee

    You insulted me in a blog, now you pretend to be educated you stupid fukk

    March 8, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Cesar

    A vulgar troll is here. I hate vulgar language. Maybe we can continue our debate some day. Bye.

    March 8, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. L64

    We have to make up all of those days. 🙂 your ignorance is showing again! Toodles!

    March 8, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Cesar

    @L64: I taught for 17 years at the secondary level. I taught regular ed and at other times special ed. I am multi-certified in Texas. Glad to see you stick up for the profession. Enjoyed your style. Bye L64.

    March 8, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. L64

    Sigh.. Mr lee or frank or whomever you are, if commenting that your hatred is eating you alive is an insult, then so be it. I can live with that. Now go play. I'm going to bed.

    March 8, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Cesar

    @L64: Good night rookie, sweet dreams. I hoped you're preped for your next class. Unless it's PE, hah!

    March 8, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Cesar

    @ConcernedCitizen: As I told L64, I have been an educator. I've taught pre-AP English at the high school level, English special education at the middle school level as well. The problem with multi-certificates is that you get moved to where the school district or principal has the biggest need. I feel that teaching is a noble profession. I was only probing L64 to get him to defend the profession that I have been in. Just which post, if you would be so kind, is it that makes you feel that I am so ignorant. I will check this post until I receive your response. Thank you.

    March 8, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Cesar

    *sigh, hand running down face*

    March 8, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Cesar

    @ConcernedCitizen: Well pearls before swine, good night.

    March 8, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. personny


    March 9, 2011 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
  12. ma & pa

    taxes Koch bros should to Wisc. would have paid shortfall but theyre cozy with govr Teachers don't su_ck up Gov tastes bad

    March 9, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  13. Cesar

    Megan Kelly is a natural. Please don't be jealous of this smart, hard working beauty.

    March 9, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  14. susan wittig


    March 9, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  15. Patty

    35 states have.
    Collective bargening 11 have limited CB and 4 do not allow it.Unions R very big
    GO WISCONSON! Recall Walker, Scott and any other official that want to take our rights away.

    March 9, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
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