ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Minnesota union workers are standing in support of their neighbors to the east with a rally at the Minnesota State Capitol.

Political reporter Pat Kessler says thousands of people showed up at the Capitol in one of the biggest and most vocal rallies he’s ever seen in the rotunda.

Union workers jammed the rotunda, the first and second floors — and the marble steps. Some told Kessler they’re frustrated and angry at what they say are union-busting efforts in Wisconsin.

Gov. Mark Dayton spoke to the crowd saying that Wisconsin is forcing “extreme, drastic measures” on working people and it won’t become law in Minnesota “because I’m here.”

The governor said Wisconsin anti-union efforts are a nationwide strategy by Republicans to pit worker against worker.

Comments (28)
  1. God Bless America says:

    If the middle class fights the middle class, the only ones who benefit are the wealthy. Why is this such a mystery? Why are right wing workers who have had their wages and benefits slashed – or even worse outsourced to China – so vehement about public workers in Wisconsin who are trying to hang onto the “American Dream”???

    Believe me, public sector workers stand WITH you to elevate your positions to where they should be. Don’t trip us up as we try to restore decency, honesty and value to the American worker.

    1. Nobody says:

      I am middle class and my taxes are ridiculous. If you’re a state worker, your salary and benefits are paid by me. In all honesty, I am probably not going to inclined to want to pay more taxes under any circumstances, or for any reason, let alone for services I don’t see as being very good in the first place. No offense to state employees that do good work, but there’s too many that don’t care or are not qualifiied to do their job. You guys have a bad reputation…not a goood place to start your argument for more money!

  2. Karen Sandness says:

    It wasn’t just union members. I personally know six other people, none of them union members, who were there to fight back in the war of corporate interests against the middle class. If it hadn’t been for pressing family issues, I would have been there with them. (I’m not a union member either. In fact, I’m self-employed, but unlike a lot of the people who have been propagandized to hate unions, I know American history.)

    1. Phid says:

      “Corporate interests against the middle class”? That line sounds like a phrase from some left-wing talking points. Yes, there are some corporations that I don’t like, or that charge too much, but in a free market economy, all of us are free to purchase from some other company, or not to purchase at all.

  3. Chuck says:

    It looks to me like the Governor feels that the people that do the negoitating with the public unions are not able to do their jobs. Should’t he be made at them, not the public employees. I thought that all workers tried to get the best deal when they took a job, union or not. Guess in the eyes of the Gov. of Wisconsin that is a sin!!!!!

  4. mark from MNTAXWASTE.COM says:

    No mention of us that were there to support anti union laws! Bad story, simply bad reporting

  5. mark from MNTAXWASTE.COM says:

    Pat Kessler is nothing but a left leaning reporter, Dave Moore is turning over in his grave knowing that WCCO would print a story like this

  6. Linda ribbach says:

    The demonstrators are not just union workers. The ability for people to bargain with administrations has benefited all of us by helping us get better wages, overtime, healthcare etc. The people of this country are all supporting these demonstrations.

  7. mark from MNTAXWASTE.COM says:

    @Linda ribbach Please, when you are commenting don’t lie people see right through you. The people IE VOTERS of WI elected the Senators and Governor to clean up the waste. If the people supported the Unions and the waste they would not have elected these people. So to say the people of this country are supporting them is a LIE! and just another union spin. The people have voted!

    1. Middle class guy says:


      You are an advocate for corporate America and its pursuit of capital regardless of who gets harmed as long as it means a profit for the elite. Most of America do not want the US to turn into an Asian sweatshop, but you appear to be all for it. How will an economy based on consumer spending survive when you have your way and turn the US into a banana republic? If the middle class loses its dream of home ownership, college for their kids and disposable income for vacations and other consumer goods, where will we be? Saudi Arabia? Nigeria? What is your Xanadu?

      Where is your humanity?

      1. mark from MNTAXWASTE.COM says:

        @Middle Class Guy I believe a person has the right to a fair wage and a union. What I don’t believe is a Union that is out of date and not representing the American worker. The Unions sold out the workers in Detroit now they have 18% unemployment, the Unions wanted to represent Illegals last month in St Paul and sold out the American workers. It’s about the money to them. Last year when the nurses went on strike, the union said it was about the patients, they got their money, never heard from them after that.

  8. John D says:

    Everyone should know and understand that unions will soon be a thing of the past.

    1. Ain't no serf says:

      And feudalism will be the thing of the future.

  9. Lin says:

    This is not simply a union fight,if the gov. in wi. wins on this,a nation of middle income people are going to feel the effects of this boondoggle.This is only the start of the oppression of all working class people.They, the conservatives want to balance budgets off our backs.Union or not can we afford to allow that ,by turning a blind eye to what is going on here.Think about it!!!

    1. MN Guy says:

      I would think about it Lin, but every thing you write is incoherent and impossible to understand. How do you expect to influence people if you cannot make yourself understood?.

  10. Unions are great, for sometihing says:

    In the relationship between unions and the government, who is management? That’s right, politicians! You don’t see any conflict of interest having the people that want union votes and political contributions also negotiating pay and benefits? If not, you’re just not being honest. The problem is that Democrats are too aligned with unions and are not seen as objective in handling union negotiations.

  11. Sara says:

    Hey John maybe your right, but they are not going down without a fight. Whether Mark wants to believe it or not, many of the people there today and at the rally in Hudson on Sat. were non-union workers. This has become bigger than union-vs-nonunion. Catch words like “left leaning” “union spin” does not apply here, taking away collective bargaining will not make the state any money. The unions have already agreed to concessions. He is also giving the top 2% a tax break that will cost WI. 100some million dollars next session. It is ridiculous that we have become dumb enough that all of a sudden teachers, librarians, and garbage men are the enemy. This bill passing in WI. will not better the lives of the proponents of the bill. It is exactly a fight of the have nots vs the have have nots. The only people at the rally in Hudson on Sat. who proposed it were people who looked just like me. We all probably live in normal homes, have normal cars, and maybe want a vacation at the lake. The people who drove by and flicked us off were driving escalades and mercedes. It dawned on me how the people who actually have the balls to go out and stand for something are literally fighting against each other. The republicans who were voted in are really doing themselves a disservice. They had an opportunity to gain new support by showing us these “wonderful” magical changes they were going to make. Walker is currently committing political suicide. He is “holding” his ground on an agenda that was pre-planned. The people who are supporting him have always supported him, he just lost the future support of every union member in WI and their families. He should have held off on some of his agendas, people are hurting and scared all across the board in this economy. This is backfiring and will continue to backfire, so unions will be around for awhile still (don’t worry John). Mark why don’t you go do something useful, how much do we waste on paying double welfare to people crossing state lines. Why don’t you go fight to start legislation for drug testing welfare recipients? I am sure we could agree on that.

  12. Wondering says:

    Let me ask about worker rights. This is a sincere question. If I join a company where the workers are represented by a union, can I opt not to be part of the union and/or not pay union dues? If not, I would see that as a fundamental right that should be addressed in any reform we’re now talking about. Do we force workers to join unions so we can protect them? That sounds like twisted logic.

    1. Sara says:

      If you are joining a company then you should know going in that being apart of a union is paying dues. You have a choice not to join that company and go work in the private sector in your career area. There is your choice. I find it funny that we use union dues as a tool for argument. It can’t be both ways calling the public sector workers greedy with their “HUGE” salaries and then say that them being forced to pay dues is a problem????? I think it’s safe to say right now that most public sector employees are willing to pay dues. They have also already said they will pay into benefits and pensions. My husband actually pays 100% of his own healthcare and pension, he also has no problem paying his dues. In our household we do believe though that basic rights that have been in place for 100 years to give the working man a voice should in no way be taken away from anyone.

  13. Alec says:

    Number 1 rule of any dicatatorship, communism, fascism, or Nazism: Get rid of unions first. Start a union in communist China, go to prison for life. Nazis sent trade unions to death before anyone else. Kill the unions, and the people are ripe for the picking.

    1. Victim Du Jour says:

      The National Socialist German Worker Party (Nazi’s) promoted the German Labor Front.

      Nazi’s were a deadly labour party. Learn history dude!

      1. Victim Du Jour says:

        Nazi’s outlawed Weimer Republic Unions and replaced them with the Nazi Unions (German Labor Front)

        They made a film called “Triumph of the Will”, look it up on YouTube and watch Nazi’s talking up Unions.

  14. chuckbrown says:

    @ Wondering are you fishing? In my union we vote the negotiators in & trust me when I say they don’t have the easiest job going up against huge CEO’s/CFO’s/ groups that represent the businesses. Example: Spring 2010 when Minn Nurses Association(MNA) attempted to collectively bargain with the hospital representatives. There were scheduled sessions where the hospitals just didn’t show up & forced the majority to strike for 24 hrs. It felt like a bad divorce having to watch scabs go in & take over our jobs. We were toasted/roasted/ chewed up & spit out many many news media & public too… In the end MNA prevailed and we kept our language (in place for > 10-20 yrs) intact for 3 more yrs. AND no we didn’t get a pay increase. Instead we now deal with notices of potential layoffs across the board (Union or Not). It’s tough out there and I so agree with wondering where the $$$ are actually going in America?

  15. Just one viewpoint among many says:

    Right now at the state level employees do not have a choice, they have to be a part of the union. I work for the state of MN and am a first time union member. Even being a member, I’m skeptical of them. I think there is a right to organize and have them if the people CHOOSE. But I agree with you, forcing people to be a part of them to protect them is a bit of backwards logic to me. I also have to agree with the MN tax waste person…. unions have changed in the last 50 or so years. Their original purpose and where they are now are two different places. And as someone else earlier said, there is a huge conflict of interest in having the people we vote for be the ones to negotiate the pay and benefits. Dems have a lot of votes in their back pockets because they’ve made a point to push through additional pay and benefits even when they knew this economic situation was on the horizon. And the unions are just as much as fault for that. During the last agreement negotiations instead of pushing for raises to be available in the second year, they could have agreed to a full wage freeze instead. It wouldn’t have solved our current problem by any means, but it would sure have gone a long way in the court of public opinion and would have given the unions more leverage in the future.

  16. mark from MNTAXWASTE.COM says:

    What the real story is

  17. mark from MNTAXWASTE.COM says:

    With all the Union rallies going on in Wisconsin we need to look at what the State Union Workers are doing to the tax payers in Minnesota and what they consider fair.
    Lets take a look at what Minnesota Association Of Professional Employees wrote in their website today Tuesday February 22, 2011
    Schools are closed. Workers, high school and college students, community members, religious groups and concerned citizens have dropped their daily lives to rally against Gov. Scott Walker’s Draconian attacks on middle-class jobs and his proposal to strip Wisconsin teachers, nurses, social workers and other public employees of their collective bargaining rights
    Let’s read what they are saying.
    We the Union are having our teachers call in sick and having Doctors give them fake sick notes. We are telling you this because even thought you the voters of Wisconsin elected a new Governor and Senators to clean up the waste, we think you the voters are wrong and we are going to do everything we can to take your votes and throw them in the trash. We don’t care about the financial mess that both parties got us into and we just want more money.
    The Unions in Wisconsin are right now paying nothing into their retirement and not a dime into their healthcare. How about the private workers? They are paying about 25% into their healthcare and retirement, which is not right. But still the unions want more of the tax dollars.
    Gov. Walker’s proposal would require government employees to contribute 5.8 percent of their wages to their pensions and 12.6 percent toward health care costs. Both figures are still quite generous; on average, private sector workers pay about twice that. Those add up to a combined pay cut of 7 to 11 percent. This is a small price to pay to bring the budget back in order.
    Government Unions make 32% higher income than their private counterpart, so with the cut that is being asked of the unions they still come out ahead.
    People are also learning that, nationwide, unionize government workers have 31 percent higher salaries than non-unionized government workers and receive 68 percent more in benefits. Even with an 11-percent benefit cut, the unionized portion of Wisconsin’s government workforce would still cost more for taxpayers to maintain than in other states.
    Last year KSTP did a story on the City of St Paul workers and the work they did. The work consisted of going on long breaks and milking the clock. The were unions milking the tax payers (your money) If this was done in the private sector these workers would have been fired on the spot.
    Last year in Minnesota we had a nurses strike that the union said was about the patients. How strange it was when the union got their money, not another word about the patients.
    When illegal immigrants were caught by ICE last fall in St. Paul the union was right there to fight for their rights. What they did was sell out on the American worker.
    When Detroit was having financial problems and went to the unions for concessions, the unions would not budge. Now Detroit has an 18% unemployment rate thanks to the unions.
    So this is what is coming to the Minnesota taxpayers, get ready to open your wallets to help pay all the healthcare costs for Government Unions while you struggle to pay for a Doctors visit for yourself or your child.
    The unions had their time and they did a great job in helping the workers of America. But the Unions have sold out to the dollar and the turned their back on the American workers. The Unions have turned from shaking your hand to giving you and the American public a shake down of our wallets.
    Again if you know of any tax waste please email us at

  18. Dave says:

    Has anyone noted how disgustingly obese many of these greenshirt AFSCME members are? Perhaps their union should provide a “biggest loser” weight loss program.

  19. Billy says:


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