LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Roughly 160 union activists are traveling to Wisconsin Wednesday to support government employees who are fighting to keep their collective bargaining rights.

The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor delegation is expected to arrive in Madison at 1 p.m.

“I’m going to Wisconsin because it’s about preserving America’s freedoms and the middle class,” said Tom DeMoore, an electrician from Boyle Heights.

Thousands of union activists have gathered outside the capitol building to protest Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s effort to reduce union health and pension benefits, as well as limit collective bargaining powers.

Those in support of the governor include Tea Party members, who also have gathered on the square.

Labor leaders have already agreed to the cuts, but they are fighting to retain the right to negotiate employment terms as a bloc.

Democratic state senators are staying away from the capital, making a vote on the measure impossible.

Ken White, a member of the group headed for Wisconsin, said he felt it was important to make the trip.

“As a city bus driver, I understand we have a fiscal crisis, and public employees all over this country are making sacrifices, but the Governor of Wisconsin is using the fiscal crisis to destroy the right of public employees to collectively bargain. That’s wrong.”

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments (21)
  1. Barry says:

    Who gives a damn? Oh, nobody does.

    1. Lauren says:

      Teachers, Firefighters, Police and other’s performing a public service are under paid and under appreciated. Without collective bargaining, they would be almost non-existent because they could do better privately. And for those of you who think its unfair that the low end of the government pay-scale should have pensions, let’s get some perspective here. A teacher who receives a $40,000 a year pension is a FAR cry from a Wall Street exec. who takes millions every year in bonuses on top of their already high pay. How about we take out our rath of corporate america and leave the public servants alone.

  2. Bart says:

    The states have no money, but heaven forbid the state union workers should give up anything! The time when unions were needed are now long gone.

    1. LA161 says:

      This state has a defecit because Scott Walker gave tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy. He created it and now wants hard working Sconnies to foot the bill. Then he wants to reward the Koch brothers for their support by handing over the State’s power generating infrastructure to them and buying the power back! It makes no sense unless you are ready to admit your politicians don’t care about anyone but themselves and their rich friends.

  3. Truck Hardrock says:

    Unionized government employees get a great deal compared to the rest of us working shlubs. We have to come up with our own health plans and retirement funding and we don’t have backup from the deep pockets of government with its ability to tax and borrow heavily.

    Between the Wall Street banks and the public employees unions, we’re all in debt up to our eye brows.

    Who can blame a US taxpayer for saying: let’s just wipe the slate clean and start over?

    What a mess….

  4. Nobody says:

    Unions do NOTHING except destroy industries. Yeah, I’m a “proud” member of one and hate EVERYTHING it is about. I have no voice nor ANY representaion.

  5. DAN says:


    1. Janet says:

      Not with Governor Brown, hes in their pocket.

    2. LA161 says:

      We have our signs and are ready to do whatever it takes to defend common, working class people from corporate greed. Rather than looking at what a union member earns and saying “He makes too much”, try looking at it and saying “How can I be a part of that?” Because if the labor movement falls, slavery returns, and your skin color will NOT SAVE YOU THIS TIME.

  6. David H. George says:

    Gov hang tough

  7. hugo says:

    where this people are geiiing the money to fly over

  8. Nellie says:

    I hate my union! They did nothing for me when I was laid off. I was supposed to be called back to work an instead I find that someone with lower seniority got my job while I was out of work! I put my claim in and my union rep denied it without thought. I’m so over union thugs!!

  9. Duh!! says:

    So elected Democrats are vacationing away from the capitol in Wisconsin instead of doing the job they were elected to do, which is run the state government. I say that if the elected officials are purposely staying away from the capitol, then their vote should automatically be counted as a “Yes” vote. It would be understandable if they were in a car accident and hospitalized so they couldn’t be there.

    I wonder if these elected officials who made the conscious decision to stay away from their job are still getting a paycheck? The taxpayers should not be paying them for not doing their job. If I were absent from my job without a good reason, I would be fired.

  10. Donny says:

    If you can think for yourself and stand on your own two feet, stay free!
    If you can’t, join a union.

  11. James says:

    Are you sick of highly paid teachers?
    Teachers’ hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or10 months a year! It’s time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do – babysit!
    We can get that for less than minimum wage.

    That’s right. Let’s give them $3.00 an hour and only the hours they worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school. That would be $19.50 a day (7:45 to 3:00 PM with 45 min. off for lunch and plan– that equals 6 1/2 hours).

    Each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children. Now how many students do they teach in a day…maybe 30? So that’s $19.50 x 30 = $585.00 a day.
    However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!! I am not going to pay them for any vacations.
    LET’S SEE….
    That’s $585 X 180= $105,300
    per year. (Hold on! My calculator needs new batteries).

    What about those special
    education teachers and the ones with Master’s degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage ($7.75), and just to be fair, round it off to $8.00 an
    hour. That would be $8 X 6 1/2 hours X 30 children X 180 days = $280,800 per year.
    Wait a minute — there’s
    something wrong here! There sure is!
    The average teacher’s salary
    (nation wide) is $50,000. $50,000/180 days
    = $277.77/per day/30
    students=$9.25/6.5 hours = $1.42 per hour per student–a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your kids!) WHAT A DEAL!!!!

    Not everything you’ve heard is true. Fox news are telling you lies. Union members make very little compare to private sector. As far as benefits, both private and government job offer health, dental, disability, and death benefit. As for pension, private sector offers matching 401k and government offer pension. So what’s the different? NONE! Get your fact before accusing union workers of ripping off the government. They provide you services that you paid your taxes for. It’s the government fault that they mismanaged financially. Stop Union Bashing.

    1. Proud Union Member says:

      Well said

  12. LOU says:

    should stay here and protest the LA city council $179k a year, perks, guaranteed cola, not to mention Bernard Parls $500k yearly salary.

  13. ES says:

    We should be given the choice NOT to join any unions.

  14. Saber 1 says:

    When the grades of our future leaders go up and were in the top five of GPA in the world, then you get a raise. I fear for this Nation because of the grades those kids bring home are going to lead us in the toilet like the current administration or like mexicos.

  15. Yvonne says:

    What is wrong with you people?? Those of you in Unions & hate it… Have you ever… EVER gone inside the hall &/or shown your face to get involved???? You talk a bunch of BS but don’t even realize how hard these men & women are working to save the middle class. Unions are there to help you from getting f’ed over! We middle class need to stand together instead of tearing eachother down!
    Our boys in Wisconsin, keep the good fight

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