As protests escalate in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker isn’t showing any signs of backing down from his plan to slash union benefits and eliminate collective bargaining rights.
Wisconsin’s 14 Democratic state senators have gone into hiding to prevent Republicans from holding a vote on Walker’s proposal.
In an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace Sunday, Walker said that he had no intention of giving in to protesters demands.
“How long are you willing to let the standoff go on?” Wallace asked Walker. “And what would you think of the legislature voting that the Senate Democrats are in contempt of the legislature and therefore what they are doing is a crime?”
“My hope is that cooler minds will prevail and by sometime earlier this coming week they will show up for their job,” Walker replied. “I believe we’ve got a path that allows us to have everybody come back and vote. There’s going to be plenty of time to have the debate. They can make their case and their argument. But democracy is not about hiding out in another state. It’s about showing up here in the capital and making the case there.”
“We are willing to take this as long as it takes,” he added. “In the end, we are doing the right thing.”
Chanting “this is what democracy looks like,” 70,000 protesters descended on Wisconsin’s legislature Saturday in the fifth day of mass demonstrations against a Republican plan to bust public workers unions by stripping them of collective bargaining rights.
Demonstrators who have camped out in the capitol dome since Tuesday insisted that they will not give up the fight against what they see as a broad plan by Republicans to undermine working people and the Democratic Party they support.
At least nine other Republican governors are considering bills that would curtail or eliminate collective bargaining rights for public workers.
The battle in Wisconsin was seen as a test case which has exposed a fundamental national disagreement over who should pay for gaping budget deficits at the state, federal and local levels.
This video is from Fox’s Fox News Sunday, broadcast Feb. 20, 2011.
— with AFP