Buzzflash: The Dream Team in Madison: Unions, Progressives and Young People Jubilantly Celebrate Democracy, 100,000 Strong
March 13, 2011- I headed to Madison from Minneapolis with a couple of friends for Saturday's massive rally against Scott Walker and the Republican legislature's move to do away with collective bargaining for public sector workers.
When we arrived at 11am, there were already tens of thousands of demonstrators surrounding all sides of the Capitol, watching the "Tractorcade" of farmers showing their support for workers' rights. The numbers only kept growing throughout the four hours I spent at the rally, as a constant procession of marchers, ten-people wide, circled the Capitol all day. Estimates put the crowd at over 100,000, the biggest demonstration in Madison yet.
March 11, 2011- As the protesting spirit spreads in Wisconsin, one tactic that union members are now adopting is to take aim at institutions that have donated heavily to Governor Scott Walker.
Members of the Wisconsin firefighter's union set out for a local branch of the M & I Bank on Thursday to withdraw their personal savings. The UpTake, which describes itself as "a citizen-fueled, online video news gathering organization," reports that "on Thursday members of the union withdrew close to $200,000 from the bank."
March 12, 2011- They are the unlikeliest of folk heroes.
But this group of once-obscure lawmakers — a dairy farmer, a lawyer and a woman who is seven months pregnant, among others — that fled this capital nearly a month ago, returned Saturday to the cheers of tens of thousands who once again packed the streets in protest.
Many in the crowd wore buttons or held signs bearing admiring nicknames for the group: the “Fighting 14,” the “Fab 14” or, simply, “the Wisconsin 14.” They chanted, “Thank you” and “Welcome home.”
This is, of course, not the standard reception for state legislators, typically as anonymous as they are unglamorous.
“Before all of this occurred, I wouldn’t have known a lot of their names,” said Paul Fieber, a retired state employee carrying a sign declaring, “Our heroes.” “But that has changed for me and a lot of the population.”
March 9, 2011- A group of conservative U.S. senators has introduced a bill to restrict unions from forcing workers to join and pay dues as a condition of employment.
The move on Capitol Hill comes as several states consider what's known as "right-to-work" legislation — proposals that have met stiff resistance. Indiana Republicans recently shelved their right-to-work bill after it sparked protests at the capital and after Democrats fled the state to block it, mimicking the tactic used by Wisconsin lawmakers holding up Gov. Scott Walker's anti-union proposal.
But GOP senators in Washington said national legislation is needed to stop the "strong-arm political tactics" they claim labor bosses are using to compel new employees into joining their ranks. They introduced the National Right to Work Act Tuesday.
March 13, 2011- Wisconsin’s protracted family fight over the budget and public employee unions moved to this Bayfield County town Saturday evening, as embattled Gov. Scott Walker spoke at an invitation-only event and was greeted by at least 2,000 angry protesters outside.
Walker arrived in a convoy of six unmarked police cars that pulled up at
5:45 p.m. to the Steak Pit for a Republican Lincoln Day fundraiser. The large, boisterous crowd, which had been lining the streets leading to the restaurant since 4:30, quickly recognized him and erupted in boos and shouts of “Recall Walker.”
The convoy moved through quickly and without incident, and most of the protesters began to follow a circuitous route on public pathways to a spot behind the restaurant where they continued the protest within earshot of the Republican Party faithful inside.
Bayfield County Sheriff Paul Susienka said Saturday evening that he didn’t have a crowd estimate, but various people had estimated the size at between 2,000 and 5,000. So the protest