ThinkProgress has been following both Gov. Scott Walker’s (R-WI) recent “budget repair bill,” which would effectively eliminate state workers’ right to collectively bargain, and his coinciding threat to deploy the National Guard to stop a walkout. Yesterday, the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers criticized Walker, saying that collective bargaining is “fundamental” to the middle class.
Approximately 13,000 peaceful protesters flooded the state Capitol yesterday, including nearly 800 Madison East High School students who left school to protest Walker’s bill. Democratic lawmakers listened to testimonies from citizens for more than 20 hours, stretching into the early morning. Many people who hadn’t yet gotten to speak pulled out sleeping bags.
Responding to his inappropriate threat to use the National Guard against resisting workers, Walker said last night on Greta Van Susteren’s On The Record that the National Guard has contingency plans for natural disasters, and a worker “walk-off is part of [the] contingency plan”:
VAN SUSTEREN: You have the Guard on alert. Why, if that is true?
WALKER: No, in our case we have contingency plans that we put into place that are updated from where they were before. The National Guard is part of that. They would be part of that whether it is a snow emergency, tornado, earthquake, flood, anything else. And a work walk-off is part of contingency plan.
Walker also dismissed the huge numbers of protesters, saying that the number of participants (reportedly 13,000) was not significant because there are “about 5.5 million people in the state.” Watch it:
The Wisconsin state Senate President said Tuesday that there are enough votes to pass Walker’s bill, and State Rep. Joel Kleefisch (R) said “there’s no doubt in my mind the Assembly will pass this.” But, in light of the massive opposition to Walker’s proposal, there are indicators that Republican support is beginning to crack.