Democratic leaders join protests in two states
Protesters gather at Wisconsin's state capitol.
February 19th, 2011
06:26 PM ET
11 years ago

Democratic leaders join protests in two states

(CNN) -Protests in two states have brought familiar Democratic faces back into the fold this week.

Former Gov. Ted Strickland called on Democratic supporters Saturday to join protests at the Ohio statehouse, one day after former Sen. Russ Feingold joined protesters at the Wisconsin capitol in Madison.

What both states have in common are defiant responses to legislative measures that would limit collective bargaining rights for state workers.

Strickland sent an e-mail to supporters on Saturday, urging them to protest Ohio Senate Bill 5, a proposal sponsored by state Sen. Shannon Jones that would eliminate collective bargaining rights for state workers. Stating a need to "defeat Senate Bill 5 and the rest of our opponents' anti-middle class agenda," Strickland asked supporters to protest because "this fight isn't just about police, firefighters, teachers and other public employees … it's about whether or not we will be a state that stands up for the middle class."

The former Ohio governor, who lost his re-election campaign to John Kasich last fall, also attended protests at the Ohio capitol last week.

Meanwhile, Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin proposed legislation in his state to eliminate the right of unions to have dues deducted from the paychecks of their members and require collective bargaining units to conduct annual votes to maintain certification, a process criticized as being costly. The budget-slashing bill would also require state workers to cover more of their health care premiums and pension contributions. The proposed measures have drawn ire from state workers and have attracted crowds of protesters to the Wisconsin capitol, who were joined by Feingold on Friday.

Support for Wisconsinites has also spread to the west coast, with a rallying cry from Danny Thompson, a representative of the AFL-CIO, who encouraged members to attend rallies in Carson City and Las Vegas in the coming week.

"It has never been more important than now to stand in solidarity with Wisconsin workers and workers around the country – including Nevada workers - who are under attack from politicians bent on destroying the labor movement," Thompson wrote in an e-mail.

"Show your support for worker's rights, and express your outrage at the attacks being leveled against them."

Filed under: Ohio • Russ Feingold • Ted Strickland • Wisconsin
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Freedom

    Stop the Unions! Fire all who join them! There are enough unemployed who would be glad to have their jobs. Go Governors Walker and Kasich. May God Bless Them!

    February 19, 2011 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  2. Albo58

    Like the spineless rats that they are, Feingold and Strickland desperately trying to revive their political careers by pandering to the Union goons! Their "leadership" while in office greatly contributed to the debt issues affecting these states now, but as their playbook states, "Never let a crisis go to waste"!

    February 19, 2011 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  3. annie s

    Every member of the middle class in America needs to stand with the protesters and against the class warfare being perpetrated by the Republicans. This isn't about wages or benefits, it's about the "ruling class" wanting power over the rest of us.

    February 19, 2011 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  4. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    Collective Bargaining is central to ANY fair resolution of worker rights and obligations.
    We don't want people in jobs who negotiate the best (or worst) we want people in those jobs who are qualified to do them, and hopefully to the highest possible standards.
    I don't want unhappy workers making my products in unsafe places. I don't want unhappy teachers teaching my children or grandchildren. Business and Government have bean counters and lawyers to work out the logistics of equitable compensation and humane human working conditions.

    February 19, 2011 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  5. Four and The Door

    Strickland asked supporters to protest because "this fight isn't just about police, firefighters, teachers and other public employees … it's about whether or not we will be a state that stands up for the middle class."
    Strickland lost because his ideology so much in display by this statement is out of touch with America 2011. The Federal government and most state governments are financial disaster zones and he and the Democratic Party are in denial. He is actually standing up to increase the cost of government?!?! Bufoons like him are taking America to its knees. Fortunately voters are smarter than that by now.

    February 19, 2011 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  6. Henry Miller

    And no doubt these "Democratic leaders" are carrying the same sign as all the imported union goons:

    Screw the taxpayers!

    After all, it's what most Democrats believe anyway...

    February 19, 2011 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  7. Dan S.

    The thing that amazes me is that people think that slashing 10% from a group of teachers is going to save everything. People need to wake up. They put the same people that caused this mess back into office and the cycle starts all over again. Instead of providing our children with a good education so they can compete let's worry about the teachers union so the person that teaches your child can't afford to pay there student loans. GREAT IDEA!!!

    February 19, 2011 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  8. bob

    Let's stand up for middle class and our workers. Thank you, our great Ohio Governor Ted Strickland former U. S. Senator Russ Feingold.

    February 19, 2011 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  9. Shannon

    Republicans are trying to destroy unions, and in doing so, will destroy any rights the working class people of this country have. They give tax cuts to the rich, money we had to borrow to make those tax cuts happen, while cutting food stamps, heating assistance and health benefits across the country. They are cutting police, teachers, destroying the EPA and many other programs that make us safer. All this to help corporations. Whether you are in a union or not, all working people will suffer when the unions go. Do I think they need to make concessions, yes, but that has nothing to do with their right to bargain. This is a union busting move, nothing more. There are only so many ways the Republicans make make their rich corporate buddies richer, this is just one of those ways.

    February 19, 2011 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  10. OHIOAN

    It's only a matter of time before people realize they should have kept Ted Strickland over john kasich. At least Ted is for the people!! I am neither pro-, nor anti-union. I am pro-middle know, that group that is nearing extinction. Ted still cares about the people of Ohio, regardless of their political leanings.

    And for all you people who think that all democrats are anti gun....WRONG. Ted Strickland, a democrat, is a huge supporter of responsible gun ownership, thank you very much! Kasich? Not so much. You'd be surprised just how many republicans prefer Strickland. We miss you Ted. Thank you for continuing to fight for Ohioans.

    February 19, 2011 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  11. patty

    Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin proposed legislation in his state to eliminate the right of unions to have dues deducted from the paychecks of their members and require collective bargaining units to conduct annual vote to maintain certification, a process criticized as being costly.

    This what everyone is really upset about. This union busting plain and simple. One of the republican congressmen said on tv last night that the companies want to be able to do what they want with their employess. You can all figure out what that means .

    February 19, 2011 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  12. DENNA

    Is anyone surprised? This is what comes of letting Republicans in office. I understand the Tea Party has also stuck their collective nosey noses into the Wisconsin protests. Seriously, unions may have to retool, but they should not be driven away. I guess we are too far removed from a time when there were no unions and therefore, no workers' rights.

    February 19, 2011 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  13. Dianne, IL

    What the WI gov is trying to do is a direct attack on the working middle class and a ploy to get rid of unions. While all may not be right with unions, they still protect the rights of the average working person. I use to be an Independent, but lately I am thinking that maybe I am turning into a Democrat. The Republicans need to get their act together for me to ever consider one of them again.

    February 19, 2011 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  14. Indy

    I would like to protest to the fact that the two ugliest people in America are front page and first and foremost on the ticker. How long must we look at Coulter and Palin as the first two things we see on the political ticker ? That is very cruel that I have to see two of the darkest most hateful people in the US on the front page of ticker, one would think that there could be a picture of someone that is hopeful and wants to move forward instead of the two most current backwards individuals in the entire country/

    February 19, 2011 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  15. GOP

    I would nt exactly call Feingold and Strickland leaders. They were swept out of office for coddling the unions.

    February 19, 2011 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  16. kyle

    I think the protesters should rally at capital until they have the right to bargin, it not their fault that the state let thousands of tax paying jobs be outsourced.

    February 19, 2011 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  17. me

    Hang tough. If they can strip away the rights of unions, what's next for the worker all his/her own?

    February 19, 2011 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  18. MAC

    When the states are going broke stae workers and even politicians need to cut their pay and pay more towards their benefits. I as a taxpayer should not have to give up on my standards to pay for someone elseto get better pay, benefits and retirement than I do as a private sector work. The reason that Wisconsin, Ohio and other states are looking at changing the bargaining rules is to help not only the states with their fiscal problems, but also the municipalities that are going broke too. I am TAXED ENOUGH ALREADY!!!!!!

    February 19, 2011 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  19. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    This is the most dirty underhanded way of treating any American citizen. get their vote and then put the screws to them later, but then Walker is a Republican. I stand united with these Americans who have a lawful right to have collective bargaining. Republicans have always said Democrats are attempting to away our rights, no Republicans are and will continue to take away the rights of the middle class. No middle class we have apartheid, read about it.

    February 19, 2011 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    This is part of a large plan to bust the Unions. I think the voters in Wisconsin are having buyers remorse with the Republicans/Tea Party that was voted in. I would be happy to see all of them recalled.

    February 19, 2011 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  21. Seattle Sue

    This is part of a large plan to bust the Unions. I think the voters in Wisconsin are having buyers remorse with the Republicans/Tea Party that was voted in. I would be happy to see all of them recalled.

    February 19, 2011 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  22. valwayne

    The Democrats, including Obama, are out in force with the unions to protect their corrupt deal. You know the one where the UNIONS use their membership dues to spend billions electing democrats, who then repay the favor by raising taxes so they can funnel hundreds of billions in ever higher wages and free benefits for public employee unions. Of course, they had to be careful of raising taxes so they just started borrowing the money and now many of the states and the country are in massive debt with massive obligations to pay. The democrats and the unions won't give up the corrupt gravy train for both without a fierce fight. Obama is expecting the unions to spend billions just on his reelection. Taxpayers will have to stick tough with those trying to end the corruption, or they will end up paying and paying and paying!!!!

    February 19, 2011 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  23. colowest

    What's really sad is that the "Honorable" Governor Walker and others of his ilk all the way up to the present CEO of Goldman Sachs, who has total income and options worth nearly $65 million, owe their holidays, their vacations, their official 40-hr work-weeks regardless of how much more - or less - they actually work, their health care plans, their pensions, even, at least in the private sector case, their ability to negotiate their salaries and other compensation, to the hard-won battles of organized labor over the last 150 years. And so does everybody else now doing their best to destroy the vestiges of collective bargaining in this country, or supporting those trying to do so. Are you all really so stupid that you can't figure out what will happen when it's finally all gone?

    February 19, 2011 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  24. Ruth Shehigian

    My father spent his entire career fighting for the rights of workers, the poor and those without a voice. As a woman, I know how much I owe to unions and the brave men and women before me. I know what can be lost. Every man and woman in this country who brings home a paycheck should be supporting these protesters. The wealthy, mean spirited and short sighted should not be allowed to destroy the working class to protect their own interests. I will take my children to protest and remind them that in a real democracy our voices make a difference and our marching can change things

    February 19, 2011 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  25. Bob Plomedahl

    I have been in Madison, WI for the last three days protesting against the assault on workers rights. The number of protesters has grown daily. I just heard on CNN News that the increase of numbers of people today, 2/19/11, was due to the influx of tea party members supporting Scott Walker. I was there and can state for a fact that the number of Scott Walker supporters was approximately 500 at the most. Yesterday it was estimated that 50,000 people attended the protest. Today it was estimated to be approximately 100,000. If CNN reports that 30,000 supporters of Scott Walker showed up today, they need to send out a reporter with better skills in the area of math, which our esteemed Govenor is lacking.

    February 19, 2011 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
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