For a while Tuesday, the scene at the Minnesota State Capitol was on par with what's been happening at the Wisconsin State Capitol over the past week.
Toni Anderson of Fridley was one of several thousand labor-union members and supporters at the Capitol rotunda Tuesday converged on St. Paul to show solidarity with public employees in Wisconsin jamming their own Capitol building. The Wisconsin controversy is over a move to eliminate most collective bargaining for most public employees, as part of a budget-repair bill.
Anderson and two fellow members of American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 3688, which represent employees of the Hennepin County Courts, attended the rally.
“We were there to show support for the workers in Wisconsin and Ohio and to make sure something like this doesn’t happen here,” said Michele Struthers .
Laurie McKenzie of Columbia Heights added, “We have worked too hard to create unions and have collective bargaining. If that is taken away, one can only imagine the increase in home foreclosures and the inability to pay for higher education.”
Anderson said the unions have to stick together: “Everyone’s jobs are on the line.”
“Today, we are all Badgers" was one dozens of phrases, chants and slogans that resonated in the rotunda as the crowd filled the second and third level balconies above and the stairways leading to both chambers of the state Legislature.
State Rep. Steve Simon (DFL-44A) said the rally was “the biggest I have ever seen in the six years I have been here."