News / USA

US Protesters Counter Austerity, Anti-Union Proposals

Pro-union protesters rally in Washington for union rights and speak out against austerity measures, Feb. 26, 2011
Pro-union protesters rally in Washington for union rights and speak out against austerity measures, Feb. 26, 2011

Multimedia

Nico Colombant

Protests have taken place in state capitals across the United States to denounce proposed federal austerity measures as well as anti-union curbs.

Hundreds of protesters chanted “We are united, save the dream” in Washington’s Dupont Circle as part of a countrywide pro-union protest.

One of the protesters, Ellen Murphy, said she was worried about many state proposals by newly-elected governors which would reduce negotiation rights of public worker unions.

"These governors want to take everything away. They just want to say, well you can be a union, but you can’t do anything. You can just wear fancy tee-shirts that say union on them but you are not going to have any rights," she said.

One of the podium speakers, Jeff Blum, from the pro-union grassroots group U.S. Action, said protesters should seize the moment and fight for more union rights in the private sector as well.

“Let me be loud and clear. When we have stronger unions, they will make corporations share their wealth with the people who create that wealth, their workers, and not just the bankers and the hedge fund managers and the greedy executives who loot the company and pollute the planet," he said.

He reminded protesters that it was because of historical union efforts that most workers at the rally had the day off on a Saturday.

The state where the anti-union proposals have garnered the most attention has been Wisconsin, where Republican Governor Scott Walker wants to allow union bargaining only on limited wage increases.

He says the move is part of much needed spending saving measures amid soaring deficits at all levels of government. Wisconsin’s state Assembly approved his plan early Friday.

But Democrats have prevented a vote from taking place in the state’s senate by hiding in nearby states.

At the national level, Republicans, who control the House of Representatives following last year’s election, have approved a bill that would cut about $60 billion in federal spending. Democrats who remain in control of the U.S. Senate say they want to make cuts as well, but not as many, while 9 percent of America’s workforce remains unemployed.

In Washington, Saturday, a side protest also took place, calling for higher taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations, rather than cuts in social services.

Stina Janssen, a community educator, was one of those distributing pamphlets.
“It makes me really afraid when I see that so many vital and necessary public services are getting cut. Then I learned a little bit more about our budget and realized that a lot of the reasons we have such a big deficit is because of corporate tax avoidance," she said.

President Barack Obama and his Democratic Party have until March 4 to reach a temporary or final yearly budget plan with Republicans to avoid the shutdown of some government services.

With current spending, the U.S. national deficit is projected to rise to above $1.6 trillion this year. Republicans say government needs to become smaller and companies more competitive, while Democrats say the government needs to play a vital role as the economy continues its recovery.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid