Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Teamsters march and sit on battlefields in MI, OH, IN, WI, VT, CO

A Teamster family today in Wisconsin.
Teamsters fought to stop the war against workers alongside tens of thousands of people demonstrating in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Colorado, Vermont, Montana and Michigan today. More rallies are expected tomorrow. Our fight is far from over.

The battlefield spread to Michigan today, where Jim Hoffa rallied hundreds of Teamsters, autoworkers and government employees. The Republican-dominated Legislature in Lansing is considering several dozen bills that would erode workers' rights. Hoffa said
We’re outraged at what is happening in Wisconsin and in other states across this country. This is a vast, corporate-funded campaign to weaken unions and pummel middle class workers ... We’re not going to stand for it.
Huge protests continued in Indiana and Wisconsin, and a crowd estimated at 15,000 descended on Ohio's state capitol. Teamsters took buses and carpooled from all over the state to protest a Senate bill that would strip public employees of the collective bargaining rights.

Ohio protesters locked out in the cold
In Columbus, thousands of workers were locked out of the Capitol as state police barred their entry. Democratic lawmakers sought a court injunction to force the doors open. Tomorrow night Teamsters are holding a rally with the Rev. Jesse Jackson at the joint union hall for Locals 284 and 413.

Teamsters from Indiana and Northern Kentucky joined a sit-in in front of Indiana's Senate Chamber to protest another bill that would destroy government workers' collective bargaining rights. Thousands protested outside as Senate House Democrats fled the state to prevent a quorum. If the bill isn't voted on by Friday it dies, and Gov. Mitch Daniels said he wouldn't send the state police after them. We may just have beaten back this bill!

Wisconsin Teamsters were part of the energetic protest outside the Legislature as Assembly Democrats tried to slow down the anti-worker legislation pushed by Koch whore Gov. Scott Walker. Reports the Associated Press,
With their Senate colleagues still in hiding, Democrats in the Wisconsin Assembly began introducing a barrage of 100 amendments Tuesday to try to stymie the Republican governor's plan to strip unionized public employees of most of their bargaining rights.

Both houses of the GOP-controlled Legislature convened shortly before noon amid noisy protests outside the state Capitol that began more than a week ago in an epic showdown that is being watched nervously by organized labor across the country.

Teamsters rally in Denver
In Colorado's state capital, Teamsters joined several thousand workers who rallied for workers' rights on a day's notice. Reports our brother Jim Hansen from Local 455 in Denver
Teamsters were well represented today in a workers' rights rally in support of the Wisconsin state employees at the State Capitol in Denver.
Crowd estimates were as high as 2,000, and included members from many private sector unions, as well as the public sector unions.  Teamsters Local 455 chartered a bus, and many other Teamsters who provided their own transportation were in attendance.
It was the best labor rally we've had in many, many years here in Colorado.
And here's a photo from yesterday's rally in Washington State, where Teamsters from Local 117 joined thousands of workers and U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich in a solidarity rally for workers in Wisconsin. Kucinish is holding a Teamster sign.
Thanks to Local 117 for this photo from Olympia.
We've also learned that a thousand people gathered in Helena, Mont. to protest anti-worker legislation and to show their solidarity with workers in Wisconsin. Raw Story reports
More than a thousand Montanans gathered in front of the the state Capitol of Helena on Monday to protest budgetary plans to cut health, educational, environmental and labor programs while pushing for corporate tax cuts.