Protests Shut Out of Wisconsin Capitol
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has cracked down on protesters in the state’s Capitol building while issuing a new ultimatum to Democratic lawmakers. On Monday, demonstrators were barred from re-entering the Capitol, the site of 24-hour protests over the past week. Thousands of people have demonstrated and slept inside the building.
This since Walker unveiled his plan to remove the collective bargaining rights of public workers. The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin has protested the move, calling the barring of protesters during business hours unconstitutional. The Wisconsin State Employees Union and the Wisconsin Employer Relations Commission also filed an unfair labor practices complaint against Walker yesterday, alleging he failed to negotiate in good faith. While the Capitol building remained in lockdown, Walker issued another statement threatening to send layoff notices to 1,500 state workers unless Wisconsin Senate Democrats return to vote.
**Ohio Lawmakers to Vote on Anti-Union Bill**
The standoff in Wisconsin has extended to other Midwestern states. Ohio lawmakers are expected to vote on a measure that would strip collective bargaining for state employees as early as Wednesday. In Indiana, Democratic lawmakers are vowing to remain in neighboring Illinois to prevent a similar measure from passing the state chamber. Mirroring their Wisconsin counterparts, Indiana Democrats have fled to Illinois to deny Republicans quorum.
**Obama Urges Support for Public Unions**
The White House has voiced increasing support for embattled public workers as protests have grown. Addressing the National Governors Association in Washington, D.C., President Obama said unions are being *”denigrated and vilified.”*
President Obama: *”So I believe that everybody should be prepared to give up something in order to solve our budget challenges, and I think most public servants agree with that. Democrats and Republicans agree with that. In fact, many public employees in your respective states have already agreed to cuts. But let me also say this: I don’t think it does anybody any good when public employees are denigrated or vilified, or their rights are infringed upon.”*