When unions in Washington, D.C., found out that the BRG Group, a Republican lobbying firm, was hosting a $1,000-to-$5,000-a-head fundraiser on March 16 for Wisconsin legislators, they put union solidarity into action.
They knew the legislators were coming to collect their rich reward from wealthy anti-union benefactors for passing the bill that would strip public sector workers of their collective bargaining rights.
Just as unionists and students took over the Capitol in Madison, Wis., several thousand D.C. union members and their supporters broke through security lines and took over several floors of the atrium in the building housing BRG’s fundraiser.
Unionists hoisted a banner demanding “Respect workers’ rights” on the second-floor railing, held a sea of signs like “Stop the war on the workers,” chanted slogans like “What’s disgusting? Union busting!” and held an hour-long rally there.
AFL-CIO Metro President Jos Williams congratulated the protesters for “liberating this building from the forces of greed and tyranny.” Joran from Madison said: “This reminds me of being home. It’s beautiful to see so much support. [Legislators] think they can … [tell] us that public workers are the enemy, but we know that we are all together. An injury to one is an injury to all!” Afterwards, the protesters swelled the equally big demonstration outside and marched to the White House with their message of solidarity. (Metro Washington, D.C., AFL-CIO Council’s online newsletter, Union City!, March 17)