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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tunisia, Egypt, Wisconsin

From Talking points

by Eric Kleefield

Demonstrators gathered in large numbers at the Wisconsin state Capitol on Tuesday, to protest Republican Gov. Scott Walker's budget proposal to help close the state's shortfall by removing nearly all collective bargaining rights for public employees.

As the Wisconsin State Journal reports, over 10,000 protestors gathered at the state Capitol building Tuesday, with thousands also crowded inside the building itself.

A video of the demonstration is available here.

Under Walker's plan, as TPM has previously reported, most state workers would no longer be able to negotiate for better pensions or health benefits or anything other than higher salaries, which couldn't rise at a quicker pace than the Consumer Price Index. According to the Associated Press: "The proposal would effectively remove unions' right to negotiate in any meaningful way. Local law enforcement and fire employees, as well as state troopers and inspectors would be exempt."

Members of the firefighters union appeared in solidarity at the Capitol event, as well, even though Walker's plan has exempted them.

Walker has previously said that he had alerted the National Guard, in case of unrest or if crucial state services are disrupted, but he has not called them into action yet.

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