City Unions Sending Reinforcements to Madison Protesters

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Protesters rally outside the Wisconsin State Capitol on February 21, 2011 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Eric Thayer/Getty)

Public employee unions in New York City are mobilizing their members to travel to Wisconsin in a show of solidarity with the labor protests swelling in the state capital. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has been pushing legislation to reduce public employee union bargaining power in an attempt to slash the state's budget deficit.

Pete Gutierrez has been organizing members of the union Teamsters Local 237 to travel to Madison. The union counts among it members public employees in law enforcement, public housing and hospitals.  

"What happens in Wisconsin could happen in New York, or happen anywhere in the country, so it's important for us to fight," he said.

Although Gutierrez said New York has historically been a union-friendly state, unions have been under attack across the country, and the ripple effects here could be costly. Gutierrez said they've already sent a "handful" of their workers to Madison and are planning to send about 200 people by the beginning of March.  

John Samuelsen, president of the Transport Workers Union Local 100, said his union has sent some leaders to Madison already and hope to send rank-and-file members in the next week.

"I think if the Governor of Wisconsin succeeds in stripping public sector workers of their collective bargaining rights, I don't think that that will be emulated in New York, but I think that there are politicians in New York that will look to strip some ability of public sector workers to defend themselves," said Samuelsen.


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Comments [2]

michael hooker from long island

the outcry against unions, and in particular, public unions, is part of a strategy by the haves to have more. they are taking advantage of, and using against working people, an economic crisis that they themselves are responsible for. The economy was pillaged by wall street, and big business, with the bought cooperation of lots of politicians. a large percentage of the nation's wealth was stolen , and now they want more ? when the unions are decimated, and wages and benefits drastically reduced, your non- union wages and benefits are next. driving down the wages and benefits of some will eventually result in the driving down of wages and benefits for all. If you think your taxes will magically shrink after all this you are dreaming. there will just be more money to be stolen, or doled out to the connected. The rich accumulate wealth, the working people spend it. you think the economy is bad now, wait until you see how many empty stores there are when the disappearing middle class has even less to spend. i'm sure of lot of you who are for the destruction of the unions depend on the money spent by union workers for your own incomes. well, kiss it good by. the level of corruption in NYS govt is staggering. look at that clown Pedro Espada in the bronx. in just a few years, looted millions of dollars thru his " health care " center. he's a bottom of the barrel low life, with easy access to that kind of money. Another clown, Malcolm Smith, looting the state thru his bogus charter school. the higher ups have an easier time grabbing the cash. 700 million for a non working time clock system in NYC? its rampant, and a city bus driver should take the hit to make up the money? people who support the union busting are cutting their own throats, and the people who destroyed our economy are supplying the knife.

Feb. 23 2011 02:46 PM

This effort is a continuation of the Republican agenda that will make the U.S. into a one party corporate state. People need to back up and recognize the trend over the past 20-30 years. I can not understate the importance of the fact that the middle class has been declining and continues to be weakened. Eliminating our union collective bargaining right is simply the next step in moving the money and power upward to the corporate elite. The conservative elites that design the
media messages are experts at propaganda and they have almost unlimited resources from which to fund their agenda.
Our "good" representatives, especially on the conservative side, do not have the courage to stand up to the big guys, so they end up taking from the least among us who have no power.

Feb. 23 2011 11:33 AM

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