Wisconsin Union Protests - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

Wisconsin Union Protests

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But Wisconsin isn't alone, as these protests by public workers in Ohio prove.  Wisconsin's recently-elected Republican governor triggered the demonstrations.

Governor Scott Walker wants Union members to pay more for their health benefits and pensions, and the Unions say that's taking away their bargaining rights:

"There's got to be some fairness and we've got have some balance with the taxpayers who foot the bill for all of us," Gov. Walker said.

To the unions, that's a death threat:

"It's not about closing the  budget deficit...it's about destroying what we have done and busting the unions and that's not right," a Union member said.

President Obama is with the unions, saying: "Some of what I've heard coming out of Wisconsin is making it harder for public employees to collectively bargain, seems like more of an assault on unions."

But as the protests that have kept Wisconsin's schools closed for days continue, some parents feel assaulted:

"Shame on you for abandoning our children."

Unions have extraordinary power because they help elect the officials they negotiate their contracts with.  But with states facing billion dollar budget shortfalls, unions are worried:

"Taking away bargaining rights is a non-starter," Bryan Kennedy of the American Federation of Teachers in Wisconsin said.

Don't think what's happening there couldn't happen here...because it could.  Like Massachusetts, Wisconsin has a liberal political history, and a long record of supporting unions.

But now they're at a breaking point, that could break the unions or break the public bank.

I'm Andy Hiller, and that's my instinct.

(Copyright (c) 2010 Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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