ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — About 1,000 people gathered at the state Capitol in St. Paul to help protest the Wisconsin governor’s plan strip most public workers of almost all their collective bargaining rights.

They are part of rallies expected in all 50 states Saturday. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s contends the legislation is necessary to deal with the state’s budget deficit.

Attendees chanted “Enough,” and waived signs like “Workers rights are human rights” and “United we bargain, divided we beg.”

U.S. Representative Keith Ellison, a Democrat, was among the speakers at the rally. He encouraged people to stick together and keep up the fight.

A small group of Walker supporters also showed up holding signs.

Protests at the Wisconsin state Capitol have been going on for nearly two weeks.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (57)
  1. Kevin says:

    The American Dream is being a Union member? Really? The American Dream is bilking the American tax payer? Really? I have no issues with private Unions….but tax payer paid Unions….just say no….

    1. jim says:

      no. one of the american dreams is to have a say in what you earn. why can’t conservatives use and understand facts?

    2. Steve says:

      You know…you live in the Greatest Nation on earth…act like it

    3. The other Dave says:

      Kevin: break the public unions and the private sector will follow. This is an old ploy of pitting workers against workers and you’re buying into it… the way, public workers pay taxes, too. No matter what, we all make money off of each others money. If I buy a product at a grocery store does that give me the right to say how what rights the the clerks deserve??

  2. shirley says:

    this is all about breaking the unions, because they back the democrats, who leave the jobs here, unlike the republicans, who get their backing from the wealthy , whom the republican party makes sure they get their tax breaks so they can send jobs over seas.HELLO PEOPLE TIME TO WAKE UP!!!!!!

    1. Joe Hanson says:

      Check out Obama’s investment in Solyndra, jobs and major investor and Obama donor billionaire George Kaiser.

      1. Spector says:

        Joe…I have a link that says Ronald MacDonald was the shooter on the grassy knoll…should I believe that too??? GROW UP!!!

      2. Joe Hanson says:

        Spector, post your link!

    2. The other Dave says:

      ………I have no idea what you mean Steve: I would like to read you statement as stand up for your rights and the rights of fellow workers but I fear you mean just sit down and shut up, ’cause it could be worse” in other words FEAR……

    3. Mark H says:

      Idiot comment!!

  3. KayH says:

    Union members pay taxes just like you or any one else! Government workers are just like private workers. They are human beings, not resources to be used for profit or for slavery. And just like anyone else , they deserve fair compensation, treatment and respect.

    Both public and private union workers negotiate their salaries and working conditions and benefits. They do not always win.

    The unions are advocate for the worker.

    1. Grant says:

      Thanks Kay,
      Even those of us who are not in union jobs take for granted and enjoy many things that the unions have won over the years. The prospect of a future without them is scary for everyone.

  4. Frankie S. says:

    Thanks Grant and Kay.

    I agree, the voters in Wisconsin who put Walker in charge are wrong and THEY should have their rights taken from them. That would teach them. I’m out here from the east and the rally this morning heartened me and my bosses.

    1. Joe Hanson says:

      How would YOU take their rights away?

    2. Gardy says:

      Frankie. They should have their rights taken away? Theres voting for a reason. Majority rules. Sounds like you weren’t part of that majority. How about we take away your right to procreate?Seriously get real.

  5. Joe Hanson says:

    Former Minnesota Senator Mark Dayton gave a presentation on how to close your legislative office and slip out of town…

  6. mike says:

    I am a union firefighter in MN. I understand peoples concerns about benefits. What they don’t understand is its not a free ride. We pay for our health care like the private sector. My premiums are on par with the private sector as far as coverage and deductibles. Like the private sector, we have seen dramatic premium increases along with higher deductibles. We currently pay 11% into our pension and it will increase every year to bring it back inline after the 2008 collapse and we are fine with that. We were funded up until that point. When the economy is booming we don’t get big bonuses and large pay raises, but we do have more job security and that is a trade off. I feel fortunate to have a job as I know many who have lost theirs. I just want people to realize we contribute into our benefits. I know that isn’t the case everywhere, but to say disband all public unions is a shotgun approach to address a scalpel procedure. Things need to be corrected, not destroyed.

    1. Joe Hanson says:

      The legislation in Wisconsin doesn’t disband any unions.

      1. Kate S says:

        Joe Hanson: YOU’RE WRONG!

      2. Joe Hanson says:

        Kate S, you’re misinformed!

      3. St Paul says:

        I agree with Kay. Joe, YOU are wrong sir!

    2. Keith says:

      You don’t have job security in the union! I and many others I know have lost jobs while in the union. You can be secure in knowing that no matter how hard you work, you will never get ahead of the guy hired one year before you, even if he/she does little to nothing.
      The union forced a company I was with out of business by always wanting more. That being said I still support unions in the private sector. State or tax funded unions should never be allowed-use the shot gun or bomb approach there! Approx. 70% of America agrees. Yeah the union may say they care about the members, but that is the point. A union army? They would never fight. Union teachers? They would never teach. (look at Wisconsin) Union politicians? They would leave the state. This is bigger than the Union even though unions are bigger money than “any” other lobby. This is voters rights! The voters demanded reform overwhelmingly. The whiners reject it under-whelmingly!

  7. Jim M says:

    Wisconsin has a revenue shortfall deliberately caused by Gov. Walker and the Republicans in the Assembly and state Senate. NOT a problem caused by the public unions.

    1. Joe Hanson says:

      Check out this article, especially the part: “the state owes Minnesota $58 million in tax reciprocity payments”.

      One of the first thing Governor Dayton did was send a letter to Wisconsin demanding payment.

      1. Betty T says:

        So, Joe – you’re saying the Governor’s and legislature’s “giveaway” of $140 million to their corporate cronies in January 2011 had nothing to do with Wisconsin’s revenue shortfall? Get real!

      2. Joe Hanson says:

        Betty T, the article states “The Fiscal Bureau predicted the state will collect about $190 million less in taxes over the next two years than previously thought, with $117 million of that coming from Walker’s tax cuts.”

        $117 million. Made it worse over TWO years.

        Where do you get your $140 million dollar figure?

  8. Bill J says:

    Tea Party folks take note: The corporate fascists say they deserve (even more) tax breaks because it will create jobs. Yeah – so how’s THAT working for you?

    1. Joe Hanson says:

      You are talking about investments in “Green” jobs, high speed rail and ethanol subsidies, aren’t you?

  9. Gail B says:

    The Republicans and their cronies (e.g., the Koch brothers) say they need the tax breaks because jobs need to be created. Well,,, any of you Tea Party folks out there: How has that been working for you so far?!

    1. Joe Hanson says:

      The Obama administration said we needed a $800 billion stimulus to keep unemployment below 8 percent. How’s that working out for you?

      1. Patrick says:

        Saved my job, so great!

    2. Keith says:

      Sam and Patrick actually sound like Union members. Me, Me, Me! Who cares about anyone else? Actually most other people do, so the high unemployment is an issue. The simple fact is uncontrolled-unfunded spending is not working for democrats or republicans. It works for no one. Earth to protestors…

  10. Murph says:

    Wisconsin governor says two Koch’s in the hand are better than a few extra votes from Fox network zombies.He’ll be a millionaire soon no doubt! It will only get worse for ALL working people as long as they keep falling for false promises from the right wing!

    1. Joe Hanson says:

      A millionaire like Minnesota’s own Governor Mark Dayton?

      1. Pam says:

        You do know that he gave his entire salary, when he was a State Senator, to help others? He is millionaire, yes, but he does not want huge tax breaks for hinself! I don’t see any Republican Politicians doing that……

      2. Walker for sale says:

        A millionaire like Minnesota’s own Governor Mark Dayton?

        No Mark Dayton has old money made honestly. Walker wants to make his money by selling his influence to the highest bidder.

      3. paab says:

        Mark Dayton didn’t make any money he inherited it. He never EARNED any money until he became Senator and we saw how well he did at that, of course, now he is Governor and he taxes people who make $80,000 while he hides milllions in tax shelters. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Pay up Mark.

  11. Justin says:

    This is not about saving WI money… eight non-collective-bargaining states face larger budget shortfalls than either Wisconsin or Ohio,” and ” three of the 13 non-collective bargaining states are among the eleven states facing budget shortfalls at or above 20%.

    FACT: Like any group of workers with a high union density, they have better benefits, on average. But even including those benefits, state and local employees still make less in total compensation than they would doing the same work in the private sector.

  12. unfunded says:

    The situation in Wisconsin is just a forerunner of what will happen in other states but few politicians want to grapple with. The public unions unfunded pension liabilities are in a huge shortfall. Who is going to make up that shortfall?
    The taxpayers? The unions pensions have been too generous and the future payments are unsustanable. The pension benefits that have been promised are unstainable because the pensions have been assuming an 8 percent growth rate to make the pension payments. The pension funds have not been generating 8 percent. What Walker is trying to do is not about breaking the unions. It is about taking action now to try to remedy the unfunded pension liability problem. Anyone who thinks their pension benefits cannot fail because they will be paid by the state governments is deluding themselves.

    1. PAUL says:


  13. Ramone says:

    So 1,000 people were there and WCCO couldn’t be bothered to get a picture of any? Just a blurry picture of the dome of the capitol.

    That’s some ace journalism there guys!

  14. Sue says:

    The workers should set their own wage and benefits like the governor and the legislature does. Problem solved.

  15. Dayton says:

    Fire them all. Bunch of hungry leaches

    1. albert says:

      It’s LEECHES, moron. Looks like you hate teachers because you never learned to spell.

  16. mark from says:

    Another Socialist rally

  17. Jerry says:

    @ Keith, union wages are the minimum that can be paid under a given contract. There is nothing stopping a employer from paying a bonus to a harder worker.

  18. Jon says:

    Mike,the firefighter. Well said,couldn’t agree with you more! Thanks for your service and you deserve a decent wage and job security for what you do for your community. wake up people,not every body is cut out to do these jobs,police teachers snowplowing,etc.Leave collective bargaining alone!

  19. Scott Secord says:

    The root of the problem is not so much that our people have lost confidence in government, but that government has demonstrated time and again its lack of confidence in the people.

  20. TerriM says:

    @Gardy_I think the design of our politital system was intended to protect people from the tyranny of the majority. I recall a quote about this topic; “You can’t have 3 wolves and a sheep deciding what’s for dinner”.

    I do not advocate taking away people’s right to vote. Since there are no restrictions on the media’s right to air false information, the people are not really to blame.

    I read that Rupert Murdoch donated $1 million to Gov. Walker’s campaign and that in Nov. 2010 Mr. Murdoch bought a US education technology company for $360 mil. He expects a $500 billion return on that purchase. Perhaps this information explains Gov Walker’s refusal to negotiate with the teachers…

    @unfunded_I agree that the situation you’ve described is the bigger problem.

  21. Paul says:

    Wisconsin protesters disrespectful to war memorial

    Watch this before WCCO deletes it again

    1. TerriM says:

      It’s obvious they were not intending to be disresptful to the memorial. They posted on the back of the memorial. The guy who is confronting them is a bully and trying to make a story and inflame a situation- as you are.

    2. jimmy says:

      The reason WCCO deletes it is because it’s staged.

  22. Sandi says:

    Unions have worked to save MN money. A number of years ago the state came to the negotiations with state employee unions telling them that health insurance rates were going up and employees would have to plan on that % increase. Note the portion the state pays would have also gone up by that same % and they were simply willing to accept that. The union negotiators and state workers on the negotiation teams said with 50,000 employees we should be able to work out something better with the insurance companies – and they did – working out a new tier system of rates. So when people say that MN state workers have good rates for health insurance, it’s because of the work of the unions. Maybe a better federal health care system with real negotiations with insurance companies and pharmacies would do the same for everyone. Also during the last union negotiations, Pawlenty wanted state workers to go on furloughs like a number of other public entities were being forced to do. The union took the time to run the $$ for what would be saved and found out that it would cost the state money – since many state workers are not paid by general funds but grants, federal monies and other means of income. These $$ were for specific work and could not be transferred to other state functions, but would have to be sent back to the organization who gave the money.. Pawlenty still wanted to pursue the furloughts – even if it cost money – because I guess it would sound better for his long-term political career to say he took something away from state workers!! The unions have been a good partner for the taxpayers of MN – checking the proposals that the state offers. I’ve always been surprised that the state would throw out proposals to the unions without doing some of that same cost-benefit work. It sounds like the rush legislation that the WI governor and legislators are doing falls into that same category – pushing something through without really looking at what the impact would be.

  23. Tyranny says:

    Follow The Money Keith! “Who Are The Puppeteers?