In case you hadn't heard, Madison, Wisconsin, looks more like Cairo, Egypt, these days, with thousands of people taking to the streets in protest of Governor Scott Walker's new budget and the effect it has on the bargaining rights of union workers, namely, the most coddled of all government employees: teachers -- and Arizona Democrats have no plans of sitting this fight out.
The Arizona Democratic Party is organizing a protest for tomorrow at the State Capitol in support of the Wisconsin workers
and their disregard to basic math and fiscal responsibility.
"It is important to show that we stand together in support of Wisconsin
and Ohio public employees. We are joining in solidarity actions in every
state in the United States," Roman Ulman, executive director of AFSCME
Arizona People Conference, says in a statement.
Last week, 14 Wisconsin state senators got up and left the state in an effort to delay voting on the bill and protest Walker's plan. This morning, Walker called on the lawmakers to return to Madison to vote on the bill.
"They've got to come to Wisconsin, do the job that they were elected to do, do the job that they're paid to do," Walker said in an interview on ABC's Good Morning America this morning.
"If they want to do that, we will sit down and talk to them. But the bottom line is we can't negotiate over a budget because we are broke and we need the money."
Wisconsin is facing a $3.6 billion budget gap, which means sacrifices need to be made. Walker's budget plan takes away some of the power of labor unions to negotiate benefits and work conditions. It would also require workers to contribute more to their health care and pension benefits. Walker's plan also states that any wage increase for government employees above the consumer price index would have to be approved in a voter referendum.
Meanwhile, the average Wisconsin teacher salary for the 2009-2010 school year was $52,644 -- they only work nine months out of the year, and that doesn't include benefits.In any event, Arizona Democrats want to help their friends in the Badger State by standing in front of the Capitol tomorrow. Should you be compelled to join them, the rally starts at noon.