April 11, 2011
AFSCME members are not taking a spring break from ongoing efforts to demonstrate the depth and breadth of public opposition to plans to slash public services and attack the rights of workers. With huge turnout for rallies held in the past week, and more activity planned for the week to come, AFSCME activists are working overtime to keep the momentum going. Here are a handful of reports on events held this weekend:
- Ohio – More than 11,000 protesters gathered at the Statehouse in Columbus to kick off the “We Are Ohio” campaign, the largest crowd at the capitol since SB 5, Kasich’s anti-worker bill, was introduced back in February. The new campaign is supporting a citizen’s veto of SB 5 by fighting to put repeal language on the November ballot. Last week, the campaign submitted 3,000 signatures and ballot language to the Secretary of State, the first steps needed to get on the ballot. “I think Ohioans have had more than enough of John Kasich playing politics, instead of being a leader,” said AFSCME Council 8 President John Lyall. “From what I see here today, people from across Ohio are ready to take matters into their own hands with a citizens veto of SB 5.”
- New York – Thousands gathered in Times Square on Saturday, not to ring in the New Year, but to protest the threats against working families as part of the “We Are One” rallies. Raglan George, Executive Director of District Council 1707 and Lillian Roberts, Executive Director of District Council 37, were among many voices speaking out in solidarity against efforts to strip workers of their rights and slash funding for critical public services.
- Illinois – In the Second City, thousands gathered in Downtown Chicago to support workers’ rights and stand in solidarity with their neighbors in Wisconsin. The Chicago rally capped off a week of more than a dozen smaller events throughout Illinois this week coordinated as part of the national “We Are One” campaign being organized by the AFL-CIO and allied groups.
- Washington – AFSCME members and our allies are fighting to ensure that the budget is not balanced on the backs on working families. On Friday, 7,000 protestors packed the capitol in Olympia to demand that legislators close tax loopholes for corporations and the wealthy before cutting vital public services. “We did not lose $20 trillion. It was those geniuses on Wall Street,” Carol Dotlich, president of the Washington Federation of State Employees, told the crowd.
AFSCME members are not letting up this week either. Another huge rally is planned in Lansing, Michigan on Wednesday to protest Governor Snyder’s budget and privatization proposals.