Over the last two weeks, tens of thousands of workers and their supporters have flooded the Wisconsin and Ohio state capitols, pushing back on their newly-elected Republican Governors' attempts to revoke collective bargaining rights for public workers.
Other than the flashes of anger Ohio crowds showed when they were curiously shut out of their statehouse, the protests have been entirely peaceful, even jovial, with the Wisconsin capitol having an atmosphere similar to a pep rally.
WI Gov. Scott Walker and OH Gov. John Kasich have claimed budget crisis as the impetus for their efforts, but their accounting is spurious, and unions have already agreed to reductions in pay and benefits. Wisconsin public workers have yielded to all of Walker's fiscal requests, making Gov. Walker's insistence that he must cut collective bargaining rights to cut the deficit even more dubious.
Many of those we interviewed, including union leaders, did not believe that the revocation of their rights was necessary to balance budgets, but was rather part of a coordinated effort to dismantle unions and reduce their large financial and organizational contributions to progressive politics.
As Governors Walker and Kasich hold staunch, refusing even to negotiate, the protests in Wisconsin and Ohio continue, joined by thousands of others from states across the nation