Local Unions Rally In Support Of Wisconsin Workers

By Alana Gomez, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – Union supporters rallied at the Statehouse to support Wisconsin public workers Saturday afternoon.

The demonstration was a part of a larger movement to rally in every state capital throughout the country.

Several speakers addressed a large crowd that blocked off Beacon Street. A brass band played music and protesters chanted “Union!”

The cheering crowd meant a lot to Elizabeth Staudt and her husband Lowell Brower. The Cambridge couple is originally from Wisconsin and still has family there.

WBZ-TV’s Alana Gomez reports.

“Both of my parents are teachers and they’re being directly affected by it,” said Brower. “I’m worried about their job security.”

“It is a nationwide movement and even if the heart is in Wisconsin it’s definitely relevant everywhere,” said Staudt. “Seeing people here is inspiring and gives me hope.”

Wisconsin Republicans want to eliminate most collective bargaining rights for public sector workers.

State senate Democrats have fled to Illinois to block the bill from going any further.

Saturday’s rally in Boston was the second pro-union demonstration in a week.

A crowd gathered at the Statehouse Tuesday and clashed with a smaller number of anti-union activists.

Counter-protesters did not demonstrate at Saturday’s rally. Some local tea party members said they chose not to come out because of Tuesday’s confrontations.

“Everything started getting a little rowdy” said Carlos Hernandez, a member of the North Shore Tea Party. “We didn’t feel like we needed to be here because I think we made a statement.”

Tom Reynolds, A union elevator constructor showed up with his wife and two teenage sons.

“One of these days they may turn out to be union workers themselves,” said Reynolds.

Reynolds believes passing the bill in Wisconsin would endanger all unions. “It starts in one spot and then you got a little piece and it’s a slippery slope.”

Organizers said they are planning a series of future protests.

  • Old New Englander

    What has not been talked about is that many of those who resent the union members–a lot of Tea Partiers, included–should be in unions. The reason why union members have benefits and steady incomes is the union! Instead of helping the bosses break unions, working and middle-class Americans should be supporting them and looking for ways to join. A few years ago, unions put out a bumper sticker that said it all: “From the folks who brought you the weekend.” Unions won rights that the rest of us take for granted. Lose the unions, those rights will be in danger.

  • emom

    Unions can also cause strife in a family, The call the shots , tell you to STRIKE even if it does not affect you, If the union should want MORE money in their poacket they will negotiate a raise for you, in turn it goes toward the union dues YOU will end up paying, OH and if they dont get the raise, you MUST strike, OH but wait you dont get paid, HOW can you if you are not at work, so explain just how you can support a family, pay your bills, morgage, loans, car payments, FOOD, you can loose your insurance Then what.. Who at that point wins. There are a few and I mean very few unions tht work for a great out come, most have an agender and really dont care if you get hurt in the long run,, Oh and layoffs YUP that will come if they DO bargain for what they want, after all someone MUST loose so those that want what they want will get it…. so again explain how the union is our friends, oh and I have known a few good and bad unions, and on the bad ones,, sorry but the workers paid a high premium ,,, loss of their jobs, higher benifits that they must pay,,,,and well got nothing in the end but paying something to someone,,, yeah sounds great to me,, NOT

  • JM

    Look Unions were once great and helped us out of slave conditions. PRIVATE UNIONS get to negotiate money from Companies who either make money or go out of business….
    PUBLIC UNIONS negotiate from the GOVERNMENT/TAXPAYERS….so it’s raise taxes again and again to cover the forever increases OR more likely WE go out of business the country collapses.

  • emom

    key word were once great,, there are not many good or even great unions, some will ignor the workers pleas for a deal, to go back to work, or take the bid that they originally asked for, I knew of 2 unions over the last few years that did just that, IGNORED the workers pleas, told them if they crossed the picked lined to return to work , they were fired and would never ever get back into the union, now is that a great union,. NO HARDLY, and one union negotiated a raise to only take that raise in union fees and in the process the workers had to pay more for their health insurance, lost days off and got no negotiations for 5 years, hows that for great,, to many unions take and never give,, and in the mean time some of these unions dont care if there are others that suffer as well, how about those that may rely on the product that comes from that company, if they are on strike the customers are forced to purchase a higher priced item, and inferier produduct or go else where.. so many suffer cause unions are plain selfish,, Oh sure there are a fe wgreat unions and work with all,, and hardly strike, but those that force the employees to strike dont care in the end just as long as the union reps gain a big fat cushy raise and they can go on vacations and have the life of riley,, now hows that again. not buying it and do not agree with a union that forces a worker to strike and not get a pay check to suppot their family,, Tell that to a starving family or a sick child in need of medical care,, like that is helping anyone.. didnt think so…

  • cjygudwin

    The tax payer has a right to determine what he or she is willing to pay in salary for a police officer or fire fighter. If salaries, benefits and disability claims had been kept at reasonable levels this anti-union sentiment would not exist. My blood boils every time I see a police officer doing nothing all day at a construction site. A corrupt relationship beteen public employee unions and urban polititians has allowed nonsense like this to drain our budgets. It is time to trim salaries and benefits for public employees earning over $100,000/ yr.



      • Old New Englander

        You’ve got it!

      • Cynic

        BLACKBEAR1… Construction Details ARE NOT paid privately. They are included in the cost of the job and are paid for with TAXES…..

      • Norm

        I hope you were not an English teacher because you failed miserably at spelling and grammar both.
        the union employees at their best again

  • David R.Beaupre

    The Tea Party rally should have been held this weekend as opposed to tis past Tuesday.

  • Julio

    The greedy unions are the cause of jobs leaving and going to Brazil (Ford), Mexico (GM – 534 Million $ engine plant) and other third world countries.

    I, the taxpayer can no longer afford nor sustain public unions I support the efforts of Governor Walker in Wisconsin and efforts in states such as Indiana, Ohio. Bring it on to Massachusetts! Enough is enough!!

    • Old New Englander

      Unfortunately, the facts tell a different story. The textile industry used to be centered here in New England. Then it moved to the south, where unions were a minor factor. Not having unions did not keep textile jobs in the south–they went overseas. The factors that affect whether we keep jobs in this country are complicated, and simple slogans do not describe things accurately.

      One problem with keeping things here is poor education–American children are falling behind those in countries we compete with. But slamming teachers and their unions, and being unwilling to invest in education, is just slitting our own throats.

  • geebee

    NAFTA never had anything to do with jobs leaving the country! Dream on Julio.

  • Tom Stewart

    There are two major problems with this article. The first is the omission of the fact that the nationwide protest Saturday was sponsored by MoveOn.org, the leftist group with the socialist agenda. The other is the fact that the counter demonstrators Tuesday were not “anti-union activists”, they were there to support Gov. Walker. There is no widespread animosity toward unions for the private sector. It is for the public sector unions who are saddling the states with legacy costs that cannot be paid for.

    This is about fiscal responsibility, not about union busting.

    • Old New Englander

      No, its ALL about union busting. The unions in Wisconsin have agreed to the give-backs that Walker asked for. But he won’t budge. He’s using the budget problems–mainly created by his insistence on corporate-tax giveaways that he got through his legislature in January–as an excuse to break the unions. Oh, and if you missed it, his proposals don’t target the unions that happened to support him in the last election; there is an exception in his bill just for them.

    • roadbowler

      You’re right, Tom

  • Garry Burke

    Where was the Tea party in all this, they weren’t supporting Governor Walker?

  • Nab71

    Many people think the Wisconsin situation is the same as Massachusetts. It isn’t. Massachusetts teachers pensions are self funded. Massachusetts teachers pay a large . portion of their health insurance costs As a teacher in Billerica I paid eleven per cent of salary to my pension and fifty per cent of my health insurance costs.

    • roadbowler

      That’s because this ‘uprising’ nationwide has NOTHING to do with workers or workers rights. It’s about an agenda. It’s about globalization. The leftists are crying about ‘union-busting’ but their movement is all about ‘USA-busting’.

  • cynic

    Why is it that those that “Rally In Support” are NEVER the ones that have to pay for it?

    • roadbowler

      LOL, Cynic, its because they have jobs that require them to be ‘on the job’ in order to get paid….

      • geebee

        The grass is always greener.

  • Nab71

    There have been abuses of the Mass Pension system and those abuses should be stopped. But, the overwhelming majority of the workers do not abuse the system, in fact they have subsidized it. People suggest that public employees in Mass should become part of Social Security and develop 401 K’s If that had been the case from the beginning it would cost the towns and the state even more money, because unlike social security only the employees were making any contributions toward the retirement benefits of current employees. Governments operated on ” pay as you go.” In addition, communities were allowed to use a part of the earnings of the employees contributions to finance their operation. Rules were changed in the late 1980’s, and the government now has to pay catchup because of its mismanagement of employee funds. If you want to read some actual facts see “THE MASSACHUSETTS PENSION SYSTEM JUNE 2007”

  • geebee

    401 K’s are the biggest scam perpetuated on the American public. Compare a 401 K to a pension and the 401 K fall far short. 401 K’s were designed for the benefit of the corporation and not the working public. Look at the bubble economies of the past thirty years and benefits produced to the finical institutions.

    • Norm

      Last time i checked my 401k was not paid for by the hard work of taxpayers as are the penions of government (local and fed) workers.
      it’s always easy for lefty’s to give away someone else’s hard earned money
      problem is, eventually the money runs out

      • Nab71


        Look at the information in my earlier posts. Public employees pay up to 11 per cent of their salary into the pension system. Until recently the public paid zero. In addition the state and local governments were allowed to take large amounts of the earnings on employee contributions to fund their operations. If all earnings had been left in the system, only to be used for pensions there would be no problem with funding pensions. In effect, they stole employee earnings and now people like yourself do not want to replace the earnings you stole through your representatives.
        I doubt that you would be happy if the fund managers of your 401K did the same. Some state pension systems were designed to be totally funded by taxpayers: in Mass the employees have made the contributions and the government has continued to skim. Get some facts instead of mouthing generalities.

  • Lucy

    We need unions. A reason for the stagnation of wages and salaries is because of the erosion of workers’ rights. There shouldn’t be any resentment or jealousy. It’s really stupid. Work and fight for what you need and want. Look back at history. Why did unions come about? Safe workplace environment. Reduced daily hours. Unions have lost power. So we have increased work for decreased pay. People are working hard for less and less. Do you see something wrong here? No single entity has all of the solutions. It requires a lot more work. It’s worker representations. The answer is in organization. Unhappy with the union leadership? ORGANIZE!!!!!!!

    • Norm

      Why is it Lucy that the people such as yourself who need unions and demand more money for less work, and equal pay for the best and worst of the workers, and who dont believe in a merit system of pay, never put your money where your mouth is and take the risk to start your own business.
      Become a business owner, and then tell us how much you like unions.

  • Lucy

    Individuals have got to come together to effect real change that will impact their lives positively. There isn’t a way around it. A big problem is the increase that I have observed in anti social behavior. Your neighbor is not your enemy unless that is what you want them to be. Find common ground and work together. It’s the only way. Organize. Organize. Organize. It finally has sunk in with me. That’s what we need to do. Look to our history.

    • roadbowler

      Lucy, you have fallen for the propaganda. The union uprisings in recent weeks have NOTHING to do with worker rights. They have seen an opportunity at a power grab, just as George Bush did after 9/11, just as Obama did with health care.

      Unfortunately, too many people are being buffaloed by this movement. There is no money to pay these public unions all the perks that they have coming. It just isn’t there. 46 US states are under water.

      Everyone thinks the easy answer is ‘tax the rich’. The rich have sent US jobs overseas with a relatively low tax rate. Taxing them more won’t keep jobs here. It may, in fact, speed up job loss. Face it, the rich have us by the shorthairs. If they’re sending jobs overseas then there must be a reason. The US pays the highest wages worldwide. This makes manufacturing impossible on US soil.

      If you’ve heard the words ‘social justice’ and din’t know what it means, let me fill you in. We’re going through it now. We’ve been the highest paid people on earth for a while now. ‘Social justice’ is a coverup for the United States getting what it has coming to them. Our wages will be cut harshly to come in line with the rest of the world. Our bennies will be taken away. Guess what….it’s not the rich Republicans leading this movement. It’s people like your president, Mr. Obama.

      • old)_new_englander

        In the 1950’s and ’60’s the tax rate for all but the smallest corporations was 46%. That was the time of the greatest US economic growth. The tax rate for the ultra-rich went up to 90%; it was cut to 70% in, I think, 1972.

        It’s all very well to point to the poor condition of state finances today, but in state afters state, workers have agreed to concessions on pay, benefits, work rules and pension and healthcare contributions. Why, then, to the Rebuplicans attack unions? Not to save money (in Wisconsin, the unions agreed to the governor’s proposed cuts before debate on his union-busting bill began), but to keep workers weak and disorganizes, so that the rich and powerful can ride roughshod over them.

  • CEO

    Less than 8% of U.S. workers belong to a union in the private sector. The other 92% don’t have union representation and aren’t clamoring to get it. Just ask the workers at a Toyota or Honda plant. They recognize that is was the unions that killed Ford, GM and Chrysler by raising the cost of doing business so high that they could no longer be profitable. How could they be with a $2,000 per vehicle cost disadvantage compared to their non-union competitors?

    When it comes to government workers, a disproportionate 30% of workers are represented by unions. Those unions are holding taxpayers hostage with contracts that have unbelievably generous retirement and healthcare benefits. All the Governor of Wisconsin is asking for is for them to start paying SOMETHING toward those benefits like private sector employees do. Even with what Governor Walker is asking for union members will be contributing LESS than their private sector counterparts.

    Further, he’s not asking them to give up all of their collective bargaining power, he just wants it limited to wages…..not the ability to keep piling onto an already overly generous benefits package and unproductive work rules that make it almost impossible to fire a bad employee.

  • DStein

    Unions once had their place. Now they’re just as greedy as any corporation and twice as corrupt.

  • http://www.401ksource.info Jane

    The 401(k) is among the major reasons that young qualified men and women trying to find work and are not able to do so. Those who must be retired by now, creating work places for fresh employees, are not able to afford to do this.

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