Throughout the last two weeks, NOLSW/UAW Local 2320 members from Legal Action of Wisconsin have been in the middle of the demonstrations at the Capitol. Local 2320 members from the United Legal Workers of Wisconsin have been regular participants in the protests, both after work and on the weekends. This picture was taken at the first weekend rally on Saturday, February 19th that drew 70,000 people. Of course, events in Madison are also being covered by Local 2320 members at The Progressive magazine. (Click on the link for extensive coverage of events in Madison.)
United Legal Workers of Wisconsin members, Heidi Wegleitner (first on left), Donn Lind (third from right), Dina Corigliano (first on right) with NOLSW Financial Secretary-Treasurer Tim Yeager (center rear).
“The vibe is positive, peaceful, demonstrative but civil,” reported ULW Wisconsin bargaining team member Donn Lind, after attending Friday night’s rally. “The outcome of this madness is still very uncertain but truly seeing ‘what democracy looks like’ is thrilling and comforting, and gives hope. This mega-corporate force is monstrous, but the human spirit here is strong.” Donn also reports that Republican State Senator Dale Schultz (Spring Green) wanted to introduce an amendment that would have put a sunset clause on the anti-collective bargaining provisions proposed by Governor Walker. The Republican leadership did not allow it, prompting Schultz to state that he was "very disappointed". Constituents have been emailing Schultz regularly, encouraging him to jump ship and do the right thing. If he said no, there could certainly be a couple others who would too because of pressure from their constituents.
NOLSW/UAW Local 2320 have made their presence known in Madison. At one point during the rally on Febuary 19th, members started a march around the Capitol square, past the Tea Party demonstrators, and keeping the energy of the day going. Several thousand people joined the march, which was led by the NOLSW banner and Tim Yeager on the bagpipes. (see below)
ULW Wisconsin Unit Chair Heidi Wegleitner has also been attending the protests every chance she can. “It was a good rally tonight,” reported Heidi on Monday night. “I finally got the courage to get on the microphone ... and then nearly froze my feet off. Does anyone have any winter camping gear they'd want to lend to the cause?” According to Heidi, Democratic assembly staffers were telling people that tea partiers would be entering the Capitol via tunnels from the Risser building for the budget hearing on Tuesday. Opponents to the bill will have to be escorted by their Representative, each of whom is only permitted to bring eight members of the public.
In breaking news this morning, the Union representing Wisconsin state workers just got a temporary restraining order requiring the doors of the Capitol to be reopened. A hearing is scheduled for 2:15 PM this afternoon, so even if they are allowed to keep people out there will already be a boatload of people inside the building. Governor Walker unleashes his budget at 4:00 PM this afternoon. It is expected to be horrendous, with massive cuts to education and Medical Assistance/Badgercare among many others. As with the "budget repair" bill that strips collective bargaining rights, Walker's budget cannot be voted on until/unless the Senate Democrats return.