ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Unionized workers in Minnesota are opposing a measure that would strip most Wisconsin public employees of their collective bargaining rights.

The mention of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal drew boos at a union rally attended by about 300 people at the Minnesota Capitol on Wednesday.

Minnesota AFL-CIO President Shar Knutson says the legislation is an attack on working people. She is asking the Minnesota workers to show solidarity with those in Wisconsin.

Snowplow drivers, teachers and other union workers were rallying to support Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton’s budget plan to raise high-end income taxes, carrying signs saying, “Tax the rich” and “Create jobs now.”

The Wisconsin measure would end collective bargaining, except over limited wage increases, for state, county and local workers, except for police, firefighters and the state patrol.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (46)
  1. John says:

    You should be embarrased to carry a sign that says “tax the rich”. Be careful what you wish for.

  2. scott says:

    Still holding onto the trickle down economics dream, John? It’s not the public employees cheating and stealing millions/billions from the working class. Why wouldn’t this country hate the rich and want them taxed?

    1. STOP WASTING MY MONEY... says:

      Scott, PLEASE explain to me how the rich are stealing and cheating millions from the working class?

      Can you do that for me?

      1. Joe says:

        Bankers. Bailouts. Need another clue?

  3. Sarah says:

    John, that is a good reminder. It is time for folks to be civil. Gov. Walker has forgotten this important social skill. Nonetheless, it is consistently the middle class that is abused and under-represented. It is terrible to see the multi-state businesses receive all the breaks…the CEO and upper management rec’d huge bonus…while middle class work harder and harder each day to survive. Come Gov. Walker…take a reality pill.

    1. zgore says:

      Sarah- who voted Walker in? He did not get elected from just the ‘rich’. The middle class is fed up, with excessive benefits and wage increases for government union employees! They voted for Walker to do what he is doing. You need to take the reality ‘pill’! I would love my taxes to drop or at the least not go up knowing that union employees now will pay their fair share. I pay 100% of my retirement, health care, and other benefits.

      1. alan says:

        The middle class is MORONICALLY supporting the rich elite with their votes, on the forlorn hope that any of them are not too STUPID TO BREATH and will someday be rich. Hey, maybe my lucky numbers in the lotto will hit before I retire, then I hate taxes!

        Just like the poor, landless, slaveless white young men who went to fight for “honor” and “liberty” from the south in the civil war who were actually being useful idiots propping up the landed and slaveowning rich. How many times are you people going to swallow that BS?!?

      2. Patrick says:


        Where did you learn your American civil war history? Sounds like you don’t have a clue on way they went to war.

  4. Patrick says:

    We can’t afford to pay these high cadillac pensions any longer! Some of us have to work until we are 65 or 70, not these union workers.

    “Tax the rich”? Since when is $150,000 is rich? and “Create jobs now”???? Since when does the state or federal government know how to create jobs?

    1. Pat says:

      Since when is $150,000 rich?

      Since the last time I looked at my paycheck, that’s almost FIVE times what I make and I have a college degree and I am working in my field.

      And big business seems only to know how to create jobs in foreign countries, not here in America.

      1. Patrick says:

        Families that have a combined income of $150,000 is NOT rich.

        Why do you think companies go over seas? TAXES AND REGULATION!

      2. ton says:

        It is $150,000.00 net which means they are making $200,000.00 a year. Get your facts!

    2. Richard in Minneapolis says:

      $150,000 is definitely rich.

      If you don’t believe me stand on any corner downtown during the lunch hour and ask the first 100 people you see.

      Or check the census or IRS stats and see what percentile $150,000 puts you into.

      1. Patrick says:

        What’s wrong with people keeping their own money? The top 10% of all earners in the country pay over 80% of all taxes. The lowest 35% to 40% pay nearly no income taxes at all.

      2. Hannah says:

        $150,000 is not rich!! By the time you get all the deductions that you get on your check and then still have to pay thousands of dollars on April 15th, you end up feeding a family of 5 with the amount of money you pay for taxes!

  5. KD says:

    There are plenty of people that would like to have the jobs in Wisconsin. Those Madison teachers that called in sick and those that chose to go protest at the Wis. today and not go to work. There are many in line that would like your job, if you don’t. Get out and give others the chance. Democrats who just focus on one class to “tax” is trying to create only one class. Democrats will boost up the poor to become middle class and then bring down the rich to be the middle class.Then who will you have to bitch about. Maybe you can tax the big companies more until they all leave the country and all the middle class jobs go with it.

    1. Irv says:

      Ya, your right people would love those jobs until they actually tried it for a week. I know a lot of people who think those jobs are over paid and really easy, but then again have never tried it or would survive it. Once you have taught a class of middle school students for a week and then see what you get paid for it come back and see if you really want to make that statement. As for WI, they better start producing new jobs as all of their public employees will be looking for real jobs, not whats left after this plan goes through. Then we will see how well your local McDonalds teller does teaching your kids about math and economics. Good luck.

  6. BS says:

    More union BS. Communism is near.

  7. Lance says:

    I think the unions are doing what they are in business to do, get as much as possible for the members. Problem is state never fights the battle like a private company does. Private companys can go out of business, governments can’t so the unions can abuse. The problem is the state needs to farm out much of the work done by the state to private companys and let the system work. We must start cutting way back on the number of public employees we hire. Some are essential but much can be cut.

  8. Starr says:

    I am a part of the teachers union here in MN and whoever said I can retire at 65 or 70 is funny! The way things are going, I’ll probably have to teach until I’m 75. That’s great, who wouldn’t want a 75 year old teacher?!

    1. zgore says:

      Are you kidding? Teachers can apply for retirement at 55 with 30 years of service.
      Then at 62 or 65, social security kicker! Me? As a self-employed person I am looking at 65 or so. Not complaining as that is the choice I made.

      1. dunnski57 says:

        So become a teacher. The Republicans want any Joe Blow off of the street to be certified with minimal qualifications so you should be a cinch.

  9. Matt says:

    if you don’t like the benefits quit

  10. Really? says:

    Goverment employees are not the problem. We need our teachers and we need to pay them well. What ever happened to all the talk about how our children will be hurt by how much we spend in goverment today? Our children will be hurt seriously for a long time to come if we don’t treat education as a very important priority. I don’t under stand the talk out of one side of ones mouth about saving our children from the financial issues we are in today and from the other side of their mouths saying we need to pay our teachers as little pay as we can “get away with” to save our children from our financial crises. Lets talk straight and act right in Minnesota.

    1. Patrick says:

      I don’t think you’re looking at the big picture here. Everyone is tightening their belts, even the private sector side of business. Wages are lower and yearly increases as well.

      1. dunnski57 says:

        And do the bigwigs share your pain?

        Didn’t think so.

    2. Mr T says:

      You must be related to a teacher. Our school district just spent 92 million dollars on new schools. For what? For who? It looks like a university. I guarantee you the students are not going to get any smarter because of it.. Classroom size when I was a student was about 40 students. Now it is half that and the teachers whine about their work load. And our kids are not getting any smarter!!!!!!!!!!! It’s all about the teachers and their fat, fat, fat unions! Fool yourself but not me!

      1. Patrick says:


        What do bigwigs have to do with debt?

    3. Kevin says:

      Over 40% of our budget goes to the education Union…we are ranked #37 in the Nation….gosh….lets just reload….and enjoy the turkey shoot…

  11. Mr T says:

    Public employees have made the biggest hole in our economically challenged sinking ship. The teachers unions had better tighten up their belt buckles or there won’t be any pension left in a few years. Not to mention their liberal and vocal unions pumping many hundreds of thousand of dollars into the liberals. These union leaders are motivated only by greed! When will they ever stop? All these educated people are not very smart when it comes right down to it!!!

    1. dunnski57 says:

      When was the last time you spent any amount of time in a public school? Have you ever sat down with a group of teachers to get an idea about what teaching is today compared to 20 years ago? Why do you have such a narrow minded view of public education?

      I’ll make you a deal – spend a week in a public school and I’d bet you’d thank God for your job running a Slurpee machine at the local convenience store.

  12. dunski57 says:

    You don’t pay into teacher’s pensions. Teachers and the School District do.

    For God’s sake turn off Fox News and Tim Pawlenty.

    1. Ginger Shepla says:

      Where do you think teachers and the school districts get their money from? Come on, turn your brain on!

    2. Patrick says:


      Stay off the crack pipe!

      1. dunnski57 says:

        Teachers have forgone wage increases in order to establish a pension fund for retirement. Of course teacher’s salaries and benefits come from tax dollars, but that has been a choice made at the bargaining table. I am sorry if you do not have a pension plan, but that is because you kneel before the corporate CEOs and haven’t the backbone to say “I’m worth it”.
        By the way, I worked in the private sector for years and left it for less pay because stabbing your co-workers in the back doesn’t appeal to me.

        I don’t own knee pads.

  13. Dog lover says:

    Really? Nobody will be able to retire. They keep rasing the age on social security. Not to mention it will probally not be around in 20 years. It used to be only for people that paid in, Joke that has become. Also medical insurance will be a big issue.

  14. DaveM says:

    AFSCME stole from my paycheck for 25 years (under the DFL’s fair share law) and got me nothing but 1% raises or less. My pay was frozen for three years. I hope the AFSCME fat cats all lose their jobs and are not eligible for unemployment. What a bunch of whining losers.

  15. Hannah says:

    We are a hard working couple who pays their taxes!! We pay enough taxes to feed a family of 5!! Yes, we are over the $150,000 mark but we pay our share in property, sales, state and federal taxes!! We paid over $35,000 in fed tax and $15,000 in state tax!! I am tired of you guys complaining to tax more from us!! WE have a right to our money!! We earn it ….NOT the state or the feds!!

  16. doug says:

    What would be like if we didn’r have unions. We wouldn’t have child labor laws, we would be working from dusw to dawn for pennies a day, we would be working in a unsave work place, and we would be standing in line for a chance to work for a day. We can’t depend on the corporations to do the right thing for its workers. The worker want a voice in the companies on how thet are treated and

    1. dunnski57 says:

      Whoa Doug. You are making too much sense. You should kiss the feet of the wealthy and thank them for the privilege of working for decreasing wages and benefits so that they may buy another condo in Jamaica.

  17. PAUL says:

    To All of the Idiots that think that all Union workers are to blame think again . We are very hard working people and unfortunatly we also will not be able to retire until we are 65 or 70 also. if you think that you can do some of our jobs better than you have the same chance to get a Union job so STOP winning and blaming us we are not the CEO’s that are sending ALL your Jobs to THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES and paying them pennies on the dollar. also WE don’t get BONUSES I’M A VERY PROUD UNION WORKER

  18. Kevin says:

    What are the numbers for the Union? Around 10% of the American work force? When will they understand that their voice means nothing now……how about tax the uions…..and the millions they spend to buy politicians….

    1. Doug says:

      Kevin that is a two way street the corporations pour a heck of lot more money into campains then the unions do

      1. Kevin says:

        Agreed….they both suck…

  19. Carol says:

    More money being stolen from the middle class, only to be given to the rich. These aren’t just the teachers, they are the nurses that work in the state hospitals and the highway department workers that plow and fix the roads. How about the state patrol and the prison guards. You do know that the fire fighters joined the protest today – don’t you? Perhaps we should all work for $2.00 an hour for 12 hours a day and 7 days a week. The heck with schools – get those 10 year olds out ther working for $0.50 an hour and paying for their own food. Parents competing against their own kids for slave wage jobs. The hard working, tax paying American voters that are working so hard to just hold on to the middle class are not the problem. This is a national strategy by the Republican Gov. Assoc. That’s why it’s happening in soo many states at the same time. Why do Grover Norquist and his organization hate the firefighters anyway?

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