Saturday saw another huge prolabor rally at the Wisconsin state Capitol in Madison, and some speakers directed sharp comments at Governor Scott Walker. “I want to tell you, you’ve ruined our Super Bowl celebration,” said Madison nurse Angela Aldous. “But thankfully some Packers like Charles Woodson and others have taken a stand with us cheeseheads. They have blown their whistle, and called this bill what it really is: unnecessary roughness.”
Miracle on the Hudson copilot Jeff Skiles told the huge crowd there were many heroes on the day he and pilot Sully Sullenberger ditched their passenger jet. “Those trained professionals put aside the fear for their own personal safety to get the job done,” said Skiles, who lives in the Dane County community of Oregon. “And every one of them was a union member.” And Skiles told the crowd that his youngest son, still only an eighth grader in the Oregon public schools, had just gotten a 26 on the ACT test. “What do you suppose Scott Walker got?”
Wisconsin AFL-CIO President Phil Neuenfeldt told the crowd that “the right to have a collective voice in the workplace must be respected.” Neuenfeldt said Saturday’s rally, which coincided with rallies in other Wisconsin cities and other state capitols, was the biggest yet. And Nuenfeldt said workers are tired of being blamed for the nation’s economic downturn. “I don’t know any union members or workers who caused the meltdown on Wall Street, do you?”
Saturday’s rally marked a 12th straight day of protests against Walker’s controversial budget repair bill. Provisions which would radically alter the ability of most public employee unions to collectively bargain have received the most attention, and have been the focus of the rallies.