State Workers Rally for Rights

Wednesday, March 2, 2011 - 5:09pm

Hundreds take to the streets to show support for collective bargaining power.

The political stalemate in Wisconsin continues, as 14 Democrats remain out of state to avoiding a vote on Governor Scott Walker's Republican-led bill to close a multi-billion dollar budget gap.

The bill calls for major cuts to public schools and would strip public employees of collective bargaining rights.

The standoffs and walkouts over budget deficits have also spread to other states.

In Indiana, more than two dozen Democrats crossed to Illinois to avoid voting on legislation.

On Wednesday the House's Minority Leader drove back to his home state to meet with the Republican House Speaker.

"I'll state the points and we'll see if its communicated into a possible negotiation," Rep. Patric Bauer said before entering the meeting.

In Ohio people rallied for and against a state bill that would restrict public workers' bargaining rights and ban the right to strike.

The limits would impact 350,000 state employees including firemen, police and teachers.

"We're hoping that when it hits the Senate floor they will be cognizant of the people that elected them and the views of the working class people of the state of Ohio," said teacher DeeAnna Cgickerella.

Others at the rally say those benefits should not come at the expense of taxpayers.

"As long as they can afford to pay it, that's a good thing but if they can't afford to pay for it then we have to be sensitive to their needs also," said retired teacher Eileen Derolf.

Americans across the country are also weighing in.

In the latest NBC News / Wall Street Journal poll 62 percent say it is unacceptable to eliminate public employees' collective-bargaining rights as a way to deal with state budget deficits.

The majority also say they are comfortable with employees paying more in health and retirement benefits to balance state budgets.

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