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Update on Union Rallies

by BOB WILLIAMS | April 14, 2011

I expect a lot of union protest and rallies in the coming month, and I fear that things will get ugly.  The unions certainly are active, and protests this week took place from coast to coast, from Times Square to Olympia, WA.  ­Here are some of the highlights of this week's union protests around the nation:

  • California: The California Teachers Association has budgeted $1 million for labor protests at the State Capitol on May 9-13.

  • Illinois: More than five thousand union members from three different states gathered in Daley Plaza on April 9. Participants claim both private sector employers and state governments are eroding the standard of living of working people by wage roll backs and cuts to benefits.  Other protests took place around the state, including in Collinsville, Peoria, and Gurnee.

  • Michigan:   On Wed., the state saw its second big labor rally when thousands at the state Capitol protested Gov. Snyder proposed a budget that makes steep cuts to education and calls for public employees to pay 20 percent of their health insurance premiums. In a "call to battle," Herb Sanders of AFSCME Council 25, said public employee unions in Michigan should be prepared to use the ultimate "weapon" of their labor to "shut this state down" if Snyder and the Republicans who control the Legislature don't back off.  The Michigan Education Association is awaiting results for local approval for "unprecedented action," including work stoppages that Republicans say would be an illegal strike and are prepared to punish.

    This week, the Grand Rapids Michigan Teachers union president suggested to the school board tstudents attend protests as a field trip.  Unsurprisingly, the school board rejected the proposal.
  • New York:Thousands of pro-labor demonstrators gathered April 9 at a rally in Times Square, organized by the New York state AFL-CIO. The marchers say they are standing strong against what they claim to be a war against organized labor in this country.
  • Ohio: Ten thousand protesters gathered at the Ohio Statehouse at the kickoff rally to repeal Senate Bill 5, Gov. John Kasich's union-busting initiative that takes away collective bargaining rights of Ohio's public workforce. 

The left also plans to protest the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) meeting in Cincinnati at the end of this month.  In addition to unions targeting state lawmakers, they are also going after banks, and the SEIU has focused on JP Morgan Chase. The next month or so will certainly be full of union activity and we need to be aware.  We also need to get out the message of the differences between private sector and governor sector collective bargaining.

Filed Under : Union Issues & Employee Benefits


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