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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid