Hundreds Gather In Hudson, Wis., Over Collective Bargaining Bill

By Rachel Slavik, WCCO-TV

HUDSON, Wis. (WCCO) — It’s more than four hours away from Madison, but on the streets of Hudson, Wis., crowds gathered making it look very similar to the capital.

“This is union busting at its finest,” said Steve Hartman, an AFSCME union member.

Anger over a money-saving bill to end collective bargaining, as well as have workers fund more of their pension and health care plans, has reached all corners of the state and beyond.

“Maybe we should pay our fair share, which is fine. But why cut out bargaining rights,” said John Kucinski, a protester in Hudson.

“We’re standing up for all worker’s rights, not just our rights,” he said.

Some Minnesotans have crossed the border to support their fellow union members.

Linnea Andreson, a teacher from Monticello, Minn., said that she wanted to support her fellow educators and union members in Wisconsin.

“We’re concerned about what’s happening over here,” she said.

A group who hoped their message would also carry through was mingled among the pro-union protesters.

“I’m supporting Walker, because we’re broke,” Joey Monson-Lillie said.

“We’re ready to go, because this battle needs to be fought,” said Michael Krsiean, who also supports Walker’s bill.

Gov. Walker’s supporters may not have the turnout, but they argue that they still have plenty of people on their side.

“The silent majority is supporting us well right now,” Warren Vitcenda said. “We’re getting honks all the time up and down the road and it’s going really well.”

“I think we’re on the right track, finally,” he said.

The goal of the bill was to make the state stronger during a tough financial time, but days of protesting show it has caused a divide.

Gov. Scott Walker is touting this bill as a way to save money while the state deals with a multi-billion dollar shortfall.

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