Illinois Activists Join Madison Protests
Monday, February 21, 2011
CHICAGO - It will be anything but business as usual at the State Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin, this week as protesters continue to make noise about an issue that's catching fire across the country. That issue is workers' rights, and over the past few days nearly 100,000 people have jammed the Wisconsin Capitol grounds to protest, including workers from Illinois and other states.
Tracy Adman is from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union in Chicago. She traveled to Wisconsin to join the protest over Governor Scott Walker's plan to strip most public employees of collective bargaining rights, an idea she's concerned could spread to other states.
"I believe that firefighters and teachers and correctional officers and nurses are entitled to have a good standard of living."
The Democrats say the measure is being rammed through without enough public input, and it would change 50 years of labor practice in the state. Governor Walker says the changes are needed to give state and local governments the power to control costs.
Adman is concerned that this may be the beginning of a nationwide trend of balancing budgets by rolling back workers' rights.
"I'm here to stand with them but also to protect the standard of living that my immigrant father fought for and that I want to provide to my children and my grandchildren."
Fourteen Democratic Wisconsin state senators went into hiding, some of them coming down to Illinois, blocking action on the Republican bill because there wasn't a quorum in the Senate. Assembly Republicans have delayed a vote until Tuesday at the earliest.
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