Saturday, February 26, 2011

Obama Hasn't Walked With Union Workers In Wisconsin As He Indicated In 2007

Wisconsin protests entered 13th day and tens of thousands of people protested on Saturday as 14 Senate Democrats remained out of state to stall Walker's budget bill indefinately.

By H. Nelson Goodson
February 26, 2011

Madison - On Saturday, ten of thousands of pro-union supporters and workers converged at the Capitol for the 13th day, making it one of the largest manifestations of protests since the Vietnam War-era. More than 250,000 protesters have gathered at the Capitol since February 15. There were just a few pro-Walker supporters at the capitol grounds, but both sides remained peaceful. The Wisconsin legislators didn't have a session for the weekend and will be back on Monday.
Governor Scott Walker (R) announced that if the Senate doesn't pass his budget bill by next Tuesday, layoff notices for more than 1,500 state and public workers will be issued. Despite Walker's threat, some school districts around the state have already issued preliminary layoff notices to employees. One of them is Lisa Fitzgerald, a Hustisford school counselor and the wife of Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) who supports Walker's budget. He won't negotiate the bill and wants to also eliminate bargaining rights for workers.
Another 41 teachers and workers at Delevan-Darien High School where Governor Walker attended received preliminary layoff notices, as well. Reports by teachers at the high school indicate that Walker is losing support from Republicans being affected by the budget bill.
Governor Walker and the Republican controlled legislature turned Wisconsin into ground zero for union busting by pushing a budget repair bill to eliminate collective bargaining for most state workers. The Wisconsin State Assembly passed Walker's Budget Repair Bill on early Friday defeating any effort by House Democrats to stop it or remove the provision to end collective bargaining for workers.
The House budget repair bill version is now in the state Senate. The lack of Senate quorum guarantees that the bill won't be debated or voted on. It will be stalled indefinately until the Senate Republicans agree to negotiations according to Democrats. The Senate can pass non-fiscal bills.
Last week, they passed a Voter ID bill temperarily, but couldn't pass it legally since it includes fiscal items on it. Both the budget and ID bills remain stalled.
The 14 Senate Democrats have vowed to remain out of state until Republicans and Walker agree to remove the provision eliminating collective bargaining. 
Taking note, President Barack H. Obama (D) has failed to put on a comfortable pair of shoes and walk among pro-union prostesters as he indicated while campaigning for President, if union workers bargaining rights were being denied.
“If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain, when I’m in the White House. I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself – I’ll walk on that picket line with you as President of the United States of America,” President Obama said during his campaign for President in 2007.
A recall has been organized on Saturday against State Senator Alberta Darling (R), according to pro-union supporters. Other Republican legislators are also facing recalls.
Republican supporters have began a recall effort against State Senator Robert Wirch (D) also.

On Saturday, more than 70,000 pro-union supporters, teachers, public and state workers participated during protests in Madison. Video by Alejandro Riano, link at:

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