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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact 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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs