ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Here in Maryland, local unions are showing support for the workers in Wisconsin.
Adam May has a look at the demonstrations happening there.
A very heated rally was held in Annapolis Tuesday with union leaders going head-to-head with Tea Party activists.
State union workers rallied in Annapolis, concerned about Republican efforts in Wisconsin to end collective bargaining rights and weaken the unions.
“We are not going to let them destroy it in Wisconsin! We are not going to let them destroy it in Ohio! We are not going to let them destroy it in New Jersey and we are damn sure not going to let them destroy it here in the great state of Maryland,” said a union leader.
In Wisconsin, the battle has led to a week of protests with outnumbered Democratic lawmakers fleeing the capital in protest. Their governor, Scott Walker, will not compromise.
“For those 14 Senate Democrats, you had your time. Now it’s time to come home,” Walker said.
In Maryland, Democratic lawmakers stand with their Wisconsin colleagues.
“Get ready, get fired up, stand with the good people of Wisconsin!” said one.
But the Tea Party held a counter rally, firing back.
“They’re getting benefits, they’re getting health insurance, they’re getting politicians saying, `I’ll protect you, you protect me.’ This is not a democracy,” said one woman. “You get up at 4:30 in the morning, you go to work and pay your bills.”
“Fire them all,” said a man. “Fire the union laborers that aren’t willing to go to work. Fire the teachers who aren’t showing up to do their job.
The rhetoric outraged the unions.
“Go to China! There’s plenty of jobs in China. You can work for three cents an hour,” said one.
For the first time, Governor Martin O’Malley jumped into the controversy, saying that Republican lawmakers are demonizing unions.
One Republican senator in Maryland has introduced a bill to weaken unions but it’s not expected to gain traction.