HUDSON, Wis. (WCCO) — Gov. Scott Walker ran into about 175 protesters at a stop in Hudson Tuesday, while touring the state to say the new law is a “progressive” and “innovative change.”
But the protesters in front of the small manufacturing company weren’t hearing any of it. They stood in the rain chanting, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Scott Walker’s got to go.”
Missy Kowalchyk is a fourth grade teacher in Hager City who says Walker’s actions are no good for her family.
“I’m a laid-off teacher,” said Kowalchyk, “I’ve taught for almost eight years in my school district and I most likely will not have a job in the fall.”
Walker said he’s confident that won’t happen.
“The reforms that I signed into law on Friday actually are the very tools that will protect her from not being laid off,” he said.
The governor is talking about how the new law will raise the percentage public employees pay for health and pension benefits. It also takes away the ability for unions to bargain for pay raises and eliminates automatic dues payments from paychecks.
Walker told the employees at Empire Bucket, a small company that makes excavating equipment, that he’s protecting the middle class during tough economic times. He also discussed his 2011-13 biennial budget and talked about his plans to help the private sector create 250,000 new jobs.
“The sacrifices we’re asking for public workers in this state are much less than employees at companies like this and others across the state,” Walker said. “That’s what reform is all about that I signed into law. Not what you hear about in Madison, not what you hear about in the national press. It was simply about saying all of us who work in the government should share in the sacrifice that people all across the state have been making for years.”
Still, some are worried about how deep those sacrifices will go.
“It’s going to affect our family like greatly,” said Kennedy Kowalchyk. “My dad doesn’t make as much as my mom.”
Her parents are both teachers, but her dad works in Minnesota. Fifteen-year-old Kennedy is worried about the bigger picture.
“(Walker) doesn’t realize how many people it’s going to affect,” she said. “It’s not just us, it’s everybody.”
Walker addressed the protesters saying, “Their voices should not crowd out the voices of the middle class in the state and that’s exactly who we’re fighting for.”
Joan Gilbertson, Producer
NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Bruce Hagevik Reports