State employee unions were out in force at the Capitol in Madion on Friday, when officials estimated a total crowd of 30,000. They were also willing to make concessions, according AFSCME executive director Marty Beil, who said unions would be willing to meet the governor halfway. “But we will not, we will not be denied our right to collectively bargain,” said Beil. “It is not about money, and when that message gets played out in the national media, it is a lie,” said WEAC president Mary Bell. “This is about union busting, that’s all it is about,” said AFL-CIO national president Richard. “This is a concerted effort by the Republican Party to destroy unions. They’re using sometimes contrived crises, sometimes real crises, to go after the labor movement.”
Friday evening, Reverend Jessie Jackson addressed the crowd. “You are winning the Super Bowl of workers rights,” said Jackson. Governor Walker rejected the union concessions offers, and said local governments and school districts will need the ability to address pension and health care contributions after he announces his budget. Madison is bracing for another round of protests on Saturday, as well as a rally organized by the national Americans For Prosperity Group in support of Walker. Monday may also bring more protests: it’s a furlough day for state workers.