Wisconsin's Labor Fight Ripples Across the Country

Wisconsin's labor fight has gone national as unions speak out and hold solidarity events across the country, putting Republican governors on the spot far from the sit-ins of Madison.

Indeed, unions wholly unrelated to public workers or the state of Wisconsin are vying to offer high-profile support for Wisconsin's protesters -- part of the "solidarity" that is the watchword of the international labor movement.

The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) is encouraging its members to get involved, according to this SAG e-mail posted at Big Hollywood by Editor in Chief John Nolte:

... Please know that your Guild is taking action to support our fellow union members in Wisconsin. We are reaching out to our members in and around Wisconsin and our legislative committee members to travel to Madison this week so that working families there know that we stand with them.

You can also take part in this effort on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and by voicing your support for Wisconsin union members and the right of all workers to join together and collectively bargain. ...

Another union of famous people, the National Football Players Association (which is currently locked in its own labor dispute) offered support for Wisconsin state workers a week ago, as protests began. "The NFL Players Association will always support efforts protecting a worker's right to join a union and collectively bargain. Today, the NFLPA stands in solidarity with its organized labor brothers and sisters in Wisconsin," the union said in a statement.

Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson (arguably the best athlete in the state of Wisconsin) offered his own support for the protesters Monday.

Outside Wisconsin, unions locals across the country have held rallies, press conferences, and vigils opposing Gov. Scott Walker's effort to end the collective bargaining rights of many Wisconsin public employees. The AFL-CIO said events had been scheduled in 28 states besides Wisconsin between Monday and Wednesday. A Maine state senator e-mailed the AFL-CIO's Washington, D.C., office to say she had rented a U-Haul and was driving to Wisconsin to join the protests.

The political impact of Wisconsin's fight over collective bargaining has clearly rippled beyond the state's borders. State legislatures in Ohio and Indiana are also considering bills to strip away collective bargaining rights, and those state's governors are now in the spotlight for their treatment of unions.

In an interview Tuesday, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) suggested Republicans stop pressing a right-to-work bill that's led Democratic lawmakers to boycott the statehouse -- comments that drew howls in right of center media. Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) was asked about collective bargaining for public workers during a local radio interview, and said he supports their rights. And after similar protests last week, thousands of demonstrators arrived at the Ohio state capitol today to protest yet another budget bill that would roll back collective-bargaining rights for state workers, this one supported by Gov. John Kasich (R).

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