Wisconsin Government Paralyzed As Protests Rage On


Protesters in Wisconsin promise the biggest turnout yet in Wisconsin's capitol Thursday.

Union leaders say they expect tens of thousands of workers to turn out in Madison, and around the state. State Democratic senators will not be among those there, however--the 14 state senators left Wisconsin last week to stop the passage of a bill that would strip public workers of their collective bargaining rights.

The mass exodus of the senators, who are holed up in an undisclosed location for safety reasons, is preventing the Senate from taking up the measure, because at least one of the 14 Democrats is needed for a quorum.

The "Wisconsin 14," as they have dubbed themselves, are staying away despite threats against them. The state Senate has passed a rule that they must appear in person to get their paychecks.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is holding firm with his position, stating Wednesday that public workers must make concessions during the state's budget crisis. He says he has the votes to approve the bill--which can't advance as long as the "Wisconsin 14" stay out of the state. The Wisconsin Assembly took up the bill Tuesday, but Assembly Democrats used a filibuster to successfully block the vote.

The bill would require most workers in the public sector to contribute more to their pensions and health insurance, as well as strip unions of collective bargaining rights on anything other than salaries.

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  • by 1929 on Feb 24, 2011 at 08:34 PM
    Wow! Teachers were always painted as overworked and underpaid. That sure changed fast, just like Social Security has become an evil institution. Don't expect an election in 2012. We'll probably be history by then.
  • by Mad Location: Mad on Feb 24, 2011 at 04:47 PM
    To common sense get your facts straight Wisconsin teachers make on average 51 thousand per year
  • by Common Sense Location: C/S on Feb 24, 2011 at 03:30 PM
    Hmm, Wisconsin public teachers average 105K per year, pay nothing for their pensions and medical. 3/4 of Wisconsin school children are below average in reading...I don't feel sorry for them.
  • by Tony Location: Chicago on Feb 24, 2011 at 11:11 AM
    I do not think that the protesters are the issue. Of course they have a right to protest is this great country! The issue is laws that say the public sector of employment has a right to unionize and make demands using the threat of their congressional voting power to strong hold politicians; Versus letting a competitive process work. Is there a reason why union membership in 2010 was 36.2% public sector employees and 6.2% private!!!! Even if there was cause and reason for unions in the 30s...today very little is not brought to light. Let the power of the internet work it's way into the process with transparency and accountability.
  • by TessTyFy Location: Nevada on Feb 24, 2011 at 10:58 AM
    I cannot believe the people who support this bill. If it is okay for Scott Walker to unethically "think about infiltrating the protest with thugs", what do you suppose he has in mind for his future actions? Walker is a scoundrel, a liar, and as untrustworthy as they get. I am surprised we haven't pulled three republicans over to the side of the people.... I guess this shows the truth about the Republican party, okay to beat up the people, okay to shut them up, okay to prevent them from ever again congregating to protest, okay to take away fair wages.... ITS OKAY TO VOTE DEMOCRAT. They are working on financially breaking the Unions so they will not have enough funds come election time. It is our responsibility to spread the Democratic word, via mouth, via Internet, via news interviews... where ever you have an opportunity TAKE IT AND SPEAK UP FOR DEMOCRACY!
  • by John Location: NY on Feb 24, 2011 at 10:07 AM
    Is it me or have these people writing against unions been watching HOFFA too much. Most workers represented by unions are in the low to middle class. They are decent and honest workers. Public and Private sector jobs employ almost the same number of people at 7 million people each. Why is it the WORKERS, unionized or NOT are going to the pay the price for the POLITICIANS continued mistakes, and yet year after year we re-elect these people. In NY over 80% of the incumbants were re-elected, and we are in the WORST financial time on record. Do you see workers in the Legislative branches being laid off or giving up their cadillac health benfits. NO! My answer is why do we need 3 BRANCHES of government...elimate the Senate branch and let the Assembly and Governor/President fight it out, whats the old addage, 2 is a party 3 IS A CROWD! Talk about a duplication of service, they need to GO!
  • by mary Location: az on Feb 24, 2011 at 10:03 AM
    So now peaceful protests are seen as criminal by posters on this blog? Please give me a break because I am sure these same law and order folks were all in favor of the many t-party protests which were in the main manufactured by certain media and rich corps. These protests are by working people and unions are made up of working people, glad to see that Americans can still stand up for themselves. Balancing the budgets off the backs of teachers and others is despicable when you give the wealthiest more tax breaks. It was the rich and powerful that brought on our current troubles and they have yet to be called to account. The people in America are supposed to bear the burden of lost wages and benefits and are still supposed to shop, shop, shop. Enough already we need justice and fairness and proper accounting of the damage done to our economy by the great ponzi scheme that is still being perpetrated on us.
  • by hahaha on Feb 24, 2011 at 09:54 AM
    Chuck if you are in Wisconsin then you know this does not effect police and firefighters. Typical liberal lying about facts. Unions believes they can use are children as bargaining chips. They exploit our children and their education in the name of lining there pockets, the union coffers and the democrat politicians re election campaigns with money that non union taxpayers did not authorize them to use it for. Yes we should have a say as tax payers how unions spend their money if financed by taxes. fact is American education is falling behind, no coincidence that since it's decline there has been a rise in unions. Let's face facts are kids are in better hands with non union teachers that get payed by how they do their job and not collective raping of the tax payers who have no say.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 24, 2011 at 09:51 AM
    Since when is exercising your constitutional rights "criminal activity"?
  • by Freedom Location: Ames on Feb 24, 2011 at 09:31 AM
    Just because all rights are protected doesnt give them the right to crimminal activity, which is what these unions are truly doing.
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