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. POD

    This is what NOT having a union to support you does for you........
    "In 2008, the average taxpayer earned just $33,000 a year, which is actually down from twenty years ago.'
    Think about it you 'my boss is my new best friend' clueless, gutless morons!

    March 8, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Cesar

    Come on Pam, you know better than that! Those teachers don't work year round, but expect a year round check. Don't be such a Tea Partier Pam.

    March 8, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • jackal&jester

      Our politicians don't work year round either. Should they get paid as much as they do. Quick fix for budgets everywhere. Elected officials everywhere either take a paycut or reduced benefits.

      March 8, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Havildar

      Teaparty Republicans should CUT their Salaries, Pensions and Benefits as all of these are Tax payer Oerpaid to them.
      Most Stricking would be if the Media would have the Guts to ask them Why are they accepting the Taxpayer Paid Socialistic Healthcare? Why are the Teaparty Republicans NOT buying their own Healthcare from the wonderful Private Market?? Not good enough for them? When are they going to CUT the $ 53 BILLION to the Oil Companies?

      March 9, 2011 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  3. Paul

    Don't slam the teachers. A while back Fox News was saying that 250,000 was not a lot of money (when the Dems wanted to tax those more earning over 250K). Now Fox is saying that earning 40,000 like the teachers do in midwest is highway robbery. Megan Kelley of Fox was blaming the teachers for only working 9 months a year for 40K. Well, Megan you only work a couple hours a day for millions you get from Fox. I guess they are paying you for your blonde hair.

    March 8, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • johnessj

      yea people foxs have no soul. there sould are paid for. give those blondes heads some make up and cash and they will say anything foxs wants. sheperd is about the only exception. he still care about credibilities.

      March 8, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. brian

    I agree 100% with paul it is time for working class people to quit being jealous of another working person making a few dollars more a hour. we need to make a bigger deal out of a CEO setting on his lazy ass making 12 million dollars a year plus 40 million dollar a year bonus while out playing golf. it is time to take our country back.

    March 8, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. charles bowen

    I gotta say that this Walker is an arrogant little schmuck! But then again he is the product of the republican inquisition and they all want to be the Grand Inquisitor ,dont they. Protect the unions rights they are all that stands between us and slavery to the corporations..... Charles Bowen Solomon Stone

    March 8, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Cesar

    Megan is beautiful. She should be a model, not a news person.

    March 8, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Zeta

    The State of Illinois gave United Parcel Service a BILLION dollar tax cut recently. A BILLION DOLLARS that could have been used to balance Illinois' budget...and this is just one company in one state! Cut the corporate @$$ kissing out, and close the tax loopholes...and the deals made behind closed doors. Enough already!!!

    March 8, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Cesar

    @Paul: Megan Kelly gets up at 2:00 am to go to work and prepare for her news job. She has to have nerves of steel knowing millions of people are watching her live, not recorded. She works hard and earns her money and is a natural blond and very beautiful. Please don't bash her.

    March 8, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • concerned citizen

      FYI to Cesar-Teachers do not get paid for 12 months unless they have their checks spread out for 12 months. Most teachers have their checks spread out over 12 months so they can pay their bills which coincidentally happen to be billed all 12 months. Get your facts first and quit advertising your lack of knowledge!!

      March 8, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Havildar

      She is a bleached blonde and is overpaid to LIE.

      March 9, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  9. Dohio

    Not all Ohioans voted for Bush!

    March 8, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. concerned citizen

    Would anyone be willing to bet that this country would not be in the mess it is in if it were not for the ridiculous number of attorneys working in government jobs! I laugh when I hear one of them speak of the salaries of teachers. I bet there are quite a few teachers willing to change salaries with these self absorbed politicians and the nice perks they receive. What a lot of propaganda. I will tell you that it will be a cold day in h-ll before I vote for a Republican again...and to think I voted for the W-once. Stupid me.

    March 8, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. L64

    We have a dem pres who is doing nothing to help the middle class...we have repub govs doing nothing to help the middle class...l say we kick them all out and start over! Vote for independents! Lol

    March 8, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. L64

    Right. Contracts and pay are for 9 months.

    March 8, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. L64

    Wow. That totally wipes out the inane idea we get paid for 3 months vacation! Things that make you go 'hmmm'...

    March 8, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. johnessj

    i feel sorry for these people. its been a cold three weeks and no end in sight. i dont think i would have the patience these people have to withstand such bitterness. i hope u guys get the breaks u all deserve. good luck.

    March 8, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  15. concerned citizen

    Another comment–I know that union members from Illinois and Iowa have been going over to Wisconsin to help out. I also know that they were criticized for helping out the unions in Wisconsin. The comment had something to do with the fact that Wisconsin had to have others fight their battle for them. This is really unsettling!

    March 8, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
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