Union members and allies rallied in the Capitol to show support for public employees in Wisconsin, who have been staging a week-long protest over Gov. Scott Walker’s effort to restrict collective bargaining rights.
More than 1,000 people filled the rotunda Tuesday, including local legislators, union heads, members of Congress and Gov. Mark Dayton. Several state legislatures are considering legislation that would curtail collective bargaining rights for public employees. No such proposal has been introduced in Minnesota.
“Across the river they say Wisconsin is open for business, but that won’t be the name of the movie. The movie will be called ‘Escape from Wisconsin.'” AFSCME Council 5 Director Eliot Seide said. “Working men and women have fought and even died to give us the right to collectively bargain.”
Seide introduced Dayton, who he said is the only person keeping Minnesota from passing similar attacks on public workers.
“This is not Wisconsin, it’s Minnesota,” Dayton said to a cheering crowd, adding that “drastic extreme measures will not become law here, because I’m here.”
The rally was organized by the Minnesota AFL-CIO, which says it represents 300,000 members from more than 1,000 local unions throughout Minnesota.