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Thousands rally in Madison against 'Right to Work'

By Andrew Urban and staff |
March 1, 2015
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Union members take the streets to protest proposed 'right to work' law.
Union members take the streets to protest proposed 'right to work' law. (Joe Brusky)

Madison, WI – Thousands of union members and their supporters converged on the Wisconsin state capitol building, Feb. 28, to oppose a Republican-sponsored ‘Right to Work’ measure that aims at undermining labor unions in the private sector. The rally was organized by the AFL-CI0.

Speaking to the crowd, Bill Carroll, president of Teamsters Local 344, said, "This Right to Work legislation is designed so we die a death of 1000 cuts, one scab at a time."

The capitol steps and lawn were a sea of union signs and banners.

After the rally, several thousand protesters ignored police and took the streets, marching around the Capitol square, their chants echoing off surrounding buildings. Many then marched inside to the capitol rotunda.

Earlier in the day, about 400 union members and their backers rallied at Library Mall and then marched up State Street, chanting "What's disgusting? Union busting!" and "What's outrageous? Poverty wages!" as they joined the AFL-CIO rally. The enthusiastic protest was organized by Defeat "Right to Work" in Wisconsin, a grassroots group of rank-and-file union members.

Speaking on Library Mall before the march, Jorge Maya of Youth Empowered in the Struggle at UW-Milwaukee described the attack on unions as a part of a broader attack on Wisconsin's working class.

​"Workers are suffering, students are suffering, immigrants are suffering," he said.

Cherrene Horazuk, president of AFSCME Local 3800, the union of clerical workers at the University of Minnesota, stressed the importance of solidarity, telling rally participants that there was nowhere else that she would rather be than standing with Wisconsin workers.

Union members will be back at the capitol, Monday, March 2, when the Assembly labor committee takes up the Right to Work law, and again on Thursday, March 5, when the assembly is expected to vote on the measure.

For its part, Defeat "Right to Work" in Wisconsin has vowed to continue building action to oppose union busting in Wisconsin.

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