Marylanders Fired Up Over Wisconsin Strike

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) –The actions in Wisconsin struck a raw nerve with union members nationwide who showed up to protest from the East Coast to the West.

Suzanne Collins reports.

About 300 union members, teachers and other public employees and supporters rallied in Lawyers Mall outside the Maryland State House Saturday.

They wore cheeseheads and held an American flag in support of Wisconsin employees.

The rally was organized by a group called which believes eliminating a worker’s right to collective bargaining in Wisconsin is an attack on all working people.

In Wisconsin, the governor’s proposal would bar public unions from bargaining for a salary increase higher than the rise in cost of living and it would increase workers’ contributions to healthcare and pensions.

“They’re feeling this is the way to balance the budget , to take away the rights of people to negotiate with their employers collectively…well, this is a right all American workers should have,” said one protester.

The woman who organized the Annapolis rally says the conservatives were getting too much face time and it was time for workers to speak out.

Union supporters say Wisconsin governor Scott Walker is “union busting,” not just trying to balance the budget.

  • Peggy Redmond

    Thank you Maryland for standing up for democracy. This is not only about wages, pensions and healthcare. This is about our rights as Americans.

    • Martin O.

      Thank You Maryland for showing there are real idiots living in this State by showing up to support mob rule. Of course residents knew this already because of our one party State that votes democRATic every year.

    • Theresa

      We live in a Republic with represenation, not a Democracy which is basically Mob. Maybe that is why people are acting like the mob because they are yet to learn we live in a REPUBLIC. Learn the difference. between a democracy and a republic, it’s simple and it’s important.

  • joe

    No this is about so called rights of spoiled union people who believe their job status is more important than the average American. This has nothing to do with democracy, please. Democracy is a political order/system, not a platform for entitled union workers.

    • Stratego

      Political order imposed by huge corporations and banksters, Banksters who work for financial institutions “too big to fail” and who are white collar criminals given a pass by our government and “pressured in to new terms” to be better boys in the future while committing fraud and causing middle class people to starve and lose their homes. The Only terms they should get are “jail” terms. Yet people showing up to protest the crushing of unions formed in our democracy for the people and by the people and against Walker, who has been bought by the Koch brothers and other white wing extremists are considered out of “order/” Walker’s out of order. The balance of power tipping into the hands of the rich is what is “out of order.” Stop rolling over and wake up. Our country is in the hands of huge corporations and financial institutions so emboldened by our weak responses, our ignorance and willingness to be placated and to follow blindly into the .morass created by biased and bought media talking heads. Wake up before our democracy is gone completely. Government by the people and for the people!

    • KottaMan

      Right on Joe. MoveON only gets involved to drum up the race card.

  • Jessie Kilgore

    There is irony in the complaints of government workers getting paid by tax payers who work longer hours, make less money, have fewer benefits and work at least a decade more before retirement.

    • lorna rudnikas

      .why was my remark specific to jessie kilgore’s statement placed under SB’s statement. Yikes! It is Kilgore’s statement that I agree with and I was a government worker (non-union) for many, many years. Good Grief!!

  • james adams

    How can you negotiate on the backs of a taxpayer. Maybe somebody should stand up for them. Real cheap way to get on tv

  • Roger MacDonald

    Joe, don’t you get that collective bargaining is available to every American worker? Instead of pointing a finger, why aren’t you organizing for your rights? The states that do not allow collective bargaining for teachers are also at the bottom of the list for SAT/ACT scores.

    • Eli

      You are wrong. There are 1.5 million active and 1.4 million reserve members of the U.S. Military who are unable to collectively bargain. They often serve in the most dangerous areas of the planet against their will. They are compelled to move to any number of places throughout their careers with minimal notice, thus forcing their spouses and children to frequently uproot, sell their homes (even if the value is underwater), change schools and leave dear friends. U.S. Military personnel have virtunally no rights. They have no say where they work, the shift they work, the hours they work and the conditions under which they work. They must be absolutely respectful of their superiors no matter how incompetent or unfriendly.

      I am a career Marine Corps Officer and the concept of a “sick day” is so novel and foreign to me. Apparently, however, WI state employees (and it sounds like many in other states like Maryland) believe “sick days” are a kind of birthright whether one is actually ill or not, based on the clear video at the rally in WI of doctors and nurses providing fraudulent medical excuses. By the way, we in the military are unable to protest.

      State, county and municipal employees are certainly free to protest as much as they want. But this is 2011. There are 15 million Americans officially out of work (the number of Americans who have basically given up looking for work is much higher). Millions of Americans have seen minimal rise in their incomes over the last several years, their defined benefit pensions slashed, their jobs shifted overseas to low labor countries and the cost of their portion of healthcare insurance has skyrocketed, while government employees (myself included) have seen our salaries and benefits continue to outpace the private sector. Any American out of work (and many who work in the private sector) would switch places with a state employee in a heartbeat. So excuse the vast majority of these people who resent your theatrics and have no empathy for your demands. To compound matters, they are paying for your salaries and top-end benefit packages (and mine). Perhaps you would be more well received with a simple “thank you” to the American taxpayers who have paid for everything you have as their conditions continue to slide. But the agenda of your well-compensated union bosses differs from that of the rest of America. At this time in history, you seem like a bunch of childish punks.

      Semper Fi

      • MDmomx5

        Eli- when you entered the military you entered into a contract that you could choose to renew at regular intervals. YOU made the choice to be in the military, nobody forced you too. YOU knew your possible work conditions before YOU re-uped. I say this all as a former Air Force wife. He was in the AF when I married him so even I knew what I was getting into & what to expect as far as work hours, time off & moves. So I couldn’t complain because I had full knowledge. Military members are some of the most dedicated people in the country & I have great respect for them.
        I also have great respect for the teachers & nurses & firefighters of our country- most they have the same dedication to their chosen field as most military members do. They certainly are NOT in it for the money. In WI they have agreed to take pay more for their health insurance & retirement. But to deny them the right to collectively bargain for the number of patients the have in their care or students in their classrooms is in a word shameful. Would you want your grandchild to be one of 35 Kindergartners? Would YOU really want to be one of the 7 patients in ICU assigned to one nurse? Better yet would you want somebody you love in that situation?

      • Lily

        I pay taxes too! It seems like this is a fact that simply gets ignored! And hell yes, I want my collective bargaining rights. Something you mention just solidified my stance: “Millions of Americans… their jobs shifted overseas to low labor countries and the cost of their portion of healthcare insurance has skyrocketed…” Corporations go where they can make the largest profit– and these are the people to trust that they will give their workers fair treatment? C’mon! Teachers, police officers, firefighters, nurses and the like have to take on the burdens while corporations get million dollar tax breaks!

      • Tim

        Eli, You volunteered to join the US military. At that moment you became the property of the government. That is why you are unable to protest. This fight is not over money because the unions already said they would contribute more to thier retirements to help the state budget. Your total argument sounds like a childish tantrum because we dont have something you can’t have it either. I am not part of a union and work for myself but I can easily see this argument has much deeper meaning than money. Its the rights on the people against the rich and it simply boils down to that. I take comfort in history. This has happened in every major country and it always ends the same way. with a bunch of rich people getting thier heads chopped off because they let thier greed go to far. Same will happen here when the people who have suffered from the ceo’s sending jobs oversees to save a few pennies rise up then they ( The greedy Rich people) will be done. The only shame here is that its the govenment that is suppose to step in to help the people but they have not they are only helping the corporations.

    • Ronald G Miner Jr

      Yes, collective bargain your way right out of your job…How many former union employees no longer have jobs because they “bargained” their way right out of the market place? You wonder why so many companies have taken their manufacturing overseas? Because the unions demand more wages than the employer can pay and still be competitive. Unions have destroyed millions of jobs and thousands of American companies. Get your facts straight..Eventually the American people will get fed up with unions and refuse to use union employees or union made products and you will all be out of work…good riddance.

      • lorna rudnikas

        So sad, but so very, very true!!

      • Ken

        Ronald, I agree with you 100 per cent . Most people are out of work because of the Unions. Union workers are greedy and push to see just how far they can go before the company packs up and moves to China..

      • SB

        Ronald unions make up an absolutely small portion of the US work force. They have priced out no one. They have no power to. Unions have been weakened since the 80s(probably started earlier). I have never been in union and I have worked in many different work places over the past 20 years. I have read articles where unions only make up 6 to 7 percent of the US private work force. Yes there are more in the public sector but it is probably about 30 percent. Still not enough to make a dent as to having jobs sent overseas. So actually the jobs went overseas because of greed of corporate world, lack of American loyalty and us Americans wanting our products cheap cost wise(ie Walmart). That is what sent the jobs overseas, not the unions. Those are the facts. As someone not in a union I now only feel more compelled to support them because of recent events.

      • Theresa

        Unions have caused bankruptcy because of their greed. Was GM being greedy when they couldn’t pay the union workers what they wanted? Or maybe they just couldn’t afford it. It is the Unions who are greedy. There are operating costs involved in a business, and when the overhead becomes too high, something gives. And if taxes keep increasing, then it makes it much more appeaiing for companies to move to a tax friendly state or country. A lesson to be learned, don’t bankrupt your bread and butter.

      • Lily

        Mr. Miner,
        Do you have sick leave? Vacation leave? Overtime pay? If you have ANY of the three listed, YOU have personally benefited from the work of UNIONS! Why do you think unions had to be formed in the FIRST place?! Stop being a sheeple!

  • MDmomx5

    Why is everyone blaming the workers? When was the last time you met a teacher or police office pulling down the big salary? Two parties agreed to the contracts unions AND management. It’s misplaced anger- what about the big wig CEOs that make 300 times what the workers do? I’d don’t see Gov Walker or any other Republicans denouncing THEIR government pension & health care. Most elected officials are fully vested in their retirement after ONE term in office. I’d like to be full vested in my pension after 2 or 4 years.

    • Ronald G Miner Jr

      Wrong..Public unions get their salaries from the tax payers and they bargain with the government who are suppose to represent the tax payers but they don’t because they are bought and paid for by the unions. There aren’t 2 parties, just one washing the back of the other.

      • MDmomx5

        WRONG. the politicians are bought & paid for by the big corporations. Did you not hear the phone conversation between Gov Walker & who he thought was David Koch? The unions are the only thing standing between the people & a complete take over of our political system by corporations. How do you think all workers will be treated when corporate greed is unstoppable?

      • Theresa

        Democratic politicians are being bought by the unions.

  • johnjohn

    When a police officer can retire at 70% of pay and recieve $70,000, I’d say they are well paid and compensated. The cheeseball company I used to work for will be paying me $500 a month for 23 years of service. Now how about letting teachers and cops live off of that when they retire.

  • Marylander

    Title should read UNIONS in Maryland are fired up they also may have to stop stealing from taxpayers, and a whopping 300 showed up to voice support. Even in the most Democratic state in the country. Super liberal MoveOn has once again failed. People have stopped buying the BS….

    • ricky

      I’m not in a union and I was there, and this is far from the most democratic state in the country. Perhaps you should look at the republicans in your county government and state and federal legislature, because in Carroll County it was a republican sweep last year. Part of what is driving protests in this country is angry hateful rhetoric such as this garbage you are posting. Try posting facts, not hate.

  • hello

    I’m confused..don’t WORKERS pay taxes?

    • Martim O

      Yes but each case needs to be looked at. Some union employees pay into their retirement and health care and receive a modest retirement. Other do not pay into either and get 70-90% of their salary as retirement plus free health care. Their are responsible plans and others that are not. Then, especially here in Maryland there are the double dippers. Government workers who retire in 20 to 25 years, and go back to work for the Government in another retirement plan. They receive their retirement pay and job pay and in another 20-25 years another retirement. State government is full of these.

    • ptl

      when we take the rights of the workers we have the makings of a revolution

  • Dennis Bledsoe

    first lets get it straight…there is no right to collective bargaining. The comments that indicate it is an agreement between the workers and management to bargain collectively is just that (an agreemnt). If one party no longer wishes to use collective bargaining, then there is no agreement any longer.

    I have never been represented by a union, but my father was a steelworker for 27 years. I saw what his union didn’t do for him. Especially how my mother was treated after he died at an early age.

    The time has come for public sector employee compensation to more closely match the private sector.

    • Theresa

      The public sector employees make quite a bit.

  • Roger MacDonald

    This parroting of management’s anti-union propaganda shows how well the right’s anti-union campaign has worked. Tell a big lie enough times and it becomes truth. I feel badly for how people treated Mr. Bledsoe’s Mother -people will do wrong thing.

    Corporate greed moved manufacturing out of the US, not unions. If unions were so powerful wouldn’t they have prevented management from taking jobs to countries where they can pay less?

    Is it the fault of union labor that companies abuse non-union working people -does that make any kind of sense to you? If working Americans want to have any kind of future an organized middle class that can fight back against corporate greed is our best response.

    Stop listening to FOX and lapping up talk radio B.S.: start thinking for yourself.

    • Chichi

      It’s not corporate greed that sent the jobs overseas, it’s UNION GREED! Corporations exist to make money, not provide jobs. When the unions started demanding exorbitant wages and benefits for unskilled labor, they priced their companies’ products out of the market. Remember, someone has to pay for those 13-week vacations, and it’s the consumers that do. When the consumers refuse to pay high prices for U.S. union-made products, the jobs will go overseas. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a safe workplace and a living wage, but union greed demanded very high wages and benefits, and they priced themselves out of the market.

  • Laurel

    Bunch of crybabies….grow up!!! Welcome to the 21st century. Hope it happens here in Maryland….

  • merrysea

    when you say MARYLANERS you mean only 7 to 12% of Mrylanders that are in a union. and that feel they are above everyone else s.s. and mil. retireies didn’t get a pay raise this year. When we can see an improvement in service and educatio then a raise mit be in order.

  • bobbys

    Federal government workers beware we are next in this union busting. Stand up
    form now…”The peoples Party “

  • Bill

    What a joke ,The iron Workers showing up? Ask them what percentage of their overpaid drunks have actually worked in the last ten years? Look at what the UNIONS DIDI FOR THE AUTO AND STEEL INDUSTRY IN MARYLAND? We now have a county doing a study to privatize their entire government services branch! Lets stop allowing the unions to protect losers and spend our money on productive memebers of the work force. I worked out of a international brotherhood for 11 years : completed the apprenticeship and worked as a journeyman, The great thing was the DEMOCRATES alsways came around for support come election time. Like clock work once the election was over so were the promises of more union jobs! They even allowed non union companies on our sites. (Forced) How do union officals making top scale 40 hours a week to represent the membership some how always have big boats,condo’s and they move to elegant houses about a year after becoming officers? The remaining 600 members are told we understand times are tough”

  • JC

    Union memers are nothing more than ill guided misinformed socialist puppets.

  • bernard mc kernan

    Wasteful spending by both parties is the real culprit. The unions are a minority in America although the pension issue with all types of municipal & government workers has become a real red herring & is unsustainable at current rates. The unions have given back time & time again on the health care contributions & now have to on their pensions. To not do so will be suicide. One big problem here that no one wants to discuss is the “Race to the bottom” All of this workers union & non union that don’t have the benefits of the state employees have are continuing to see their 401-k’s & real base salaries erode while the state & municipal keep going along like nothing ever happened. The states have spent too myth of the taxpayers money on wasteful projects & now want the teachers etc to bear the burden. Cut government spending everywhere & learn to live on less OMalley, that’s what we have to do in our family.

  • bernard mc kernan

    Oh & least I forget, all those of you bashing the unions on here remember, if it wasn’t for a lot of sweat & blood shed back in the early 20th century that got us child labor laws, forty hour week, paid holidays & many other critical benefits that we all, union & no union enjoy today, you & I would be living like peasants with the Oligarchs running the country similar to the railroad barons & company store types with a miserable existence so count you blessings NON UNION griper’s.

    • MDmomx5

      Well said!

    • Theresa

      Time to move on. We have labor laws in place. No need for unions anymore, specifically pubic unions.

      • Lily

        If Democrats are bought by unions, than Republic and the Tea Party are bought by corporations. Stop listening to Beck and Fox and get the REAL facts!

      • Theresa

        Stop fear mongering. The best places to work are private sector companies that do not have unions. Go through the list of the best places to work and you won’t find union controlled companies there. Wow, I wonder how they managed?

      • MDmomx5

        Theresa- REALLY how long do you think those labor laws will stand? Don’t be shocked when you loose your sick leave, your 40 hour work week & overtime because there is nobody standing up for the rights of the worker. How long will it take for the majority of politicians to become like Gov Walker- minions to the likes of the Koch brothers? My guess less than a decade.

      • Chichi

        You’re not going to get the REAL facts from the LameStream Media!

  • hello

    “Oh, I see. The taxpayers don’t pay for the pensions, the employees pay for it out of their own pay. The tooth fairy leaves their pay under their pillows.”

  • Richard c.

    What labor unions “got us” back in the “good old days” has noting to do with the control they have exerted over you weak, dependent, sniveling weenies, today. Look at reality people, not simply what you wish to see.

    • bernard mc kernan

      Hello & Richard, You two both sound like twenty something’s or are business owners. In short, arrogant, ignorant & stupid all rolled into one & that is the sad face of America today. The states & governments problems with revenue are not the teachers municipals workers doing. They’re being bashed simply because the Governor of Wisconsin can do it.

  • Donald Holloway

    Rally shure, what right is right. Don’t let Walker walk over all the states. People today should have bargain rights, it’s their jobs rights. Why should people kep getting push around. Stand up the the American way, why keep on getting push back. Move this country forward not backwards.

  • mike

    thank you gov. walker for standing up for the real people who pay the salaries of these spoiled gov. union workers, who have been calling the shots for to damn long. what a great move by gov.scott walker and the state of wis. god bless america.

    • MDmomx5

      Thank you Gov. Walker for giving the Koch brothers huge tax breaks that cause a short fall in the state budget & then turn around & complain that there isn’t enough money so we have to take it out on the teachers & nurses.

      • bernard mc kernan

        MDmomx5, AMEN!

      • Theresa

        Would it be better for businesses to roll out and go to another state that gives better tax breaks. Then there would be even more unemployed people in Wisconsin. If you were a business owner, would you set up shop in a state that gave tax breaks or higher taxes? Many companies are moving out of the country all together. If you want private businesses to stay in Wisconsin, then you should be happy. Because it is private businesses that generate money & tax revenue which help pay for pubic employee salaries, and many other state business.

      • MDmomx5

        Tax2deathinMD how about you move to WI & still pay taxes but have to pay for your police, snow removal & firefighters out of your own pocket?

      • Tax2deathinMD

        Private industry is suppose to create jobs not the government except in the union’s socialist world.

    • Martin

      Exactly right.

  • Morey Ladini

    For Gawdz sake,
    STOP comparing the old style labor union struggles to the civil sector union indulgence.

    It’s apples and oranges.
    It’s bargaining with Fatcats and shareholders over abundant profits
    vs. intimidating elected officials and taxpayers over burgeoning deficit.
    It’s sharing generated generated wealth vs. passi-the-bag in a Ponzi Scheme.

  • everywhere

    The unions have killed this country. Hope it happens everywhere and maybe some of the jobs will come back to the USA!!!

    • bernard mc kernan

      Everywhere, U R an a….hole. It was the greedy manufactures who took the jobs offshore because they didn’t modernize or are share holder driven. It was not the Unions. Unions if they had the so called power that everyone thought they had would have stopped it. Legal loopholes in the law & highly paid lobbyists enabled the companies to leave the states & move offshore to have good & services outsourced. Next time you fly idiots, remember that airplane you’re trusting your life to was serviced & maintained in Pakistan or some other third world country with counterfeit part & not USA American made..

      • Theresa

        Do you know how much a union boss makes?

      • MDmomx5

        Theresa- union bosses do not make 300x what the union workers do.

      • Theresa

        MDMom, how much do the union bosses make? Much more!

      • MDmomx5

        Theresa- it’s the greed of the company bosses who on average make 300x what a worker does. Put your anger where it should be not where Fox News & Rush tell you it should be.

      • Theresa

        I have seen entire offices close up (which were run by unions) because sthey could not afford it anymore. They moved to India. The company was going bankrupt by the greed of the unions wanting more this, more that. Democrats are always talking about corporate greed. It’s the unions that are greedy. Ever take a look at any unions money/portfolio/transaction sheets? Me either. They are private. Gee, wonder what they are hiding?

  • Herman Glimsher




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