The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

‘Walking against Walker’

“You know what’s going on in Wisconsin?” English professor John Allison asked the crowd in front of the south steps of Booth Library Wednesday afternoon.

To answer the question – Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s recent budget repair bill threatens to strip the majority of public workers of their collective bargaining rights in order to tackle the $137 million deficit. Since then, thousands have flooded into the Wisconsin capitol to fight for their public rights.

At Eastern, the University Professionals of Illinois’ committee on political action and legislation organized a rally to show support for the workers in Wisconsin.

Allison, the UPI/EIU chapter president, addressed the crowd made up of current UPI members, retirees and students holding handmade signs stating “Enjoy a weekend, thank a union” and “Walking against Walker.”

He pointed out the bill will not only affect Wisconsin workers – it will also affect Illinois, and the rest of the bordering states.

“We are not going to allow ourselves to be scapegoated, victimized, and treated as if we are the problem by having our benefits, which we pay for, ripped down,” Allison said.

Chemistry professor Barbara Lawrence, a member of UPI’s committee on political action and legislation, was glad to see students in the crowd.

“Students are the future teachers – they are the ones that are going to be affected by this legislation if it goes through,” she said.

John Kraps, a junior communication studies major, was one of the students who was able to make it to the rally.Kraps said he wanted to come out to support the unions because of the “growing disparity between the rich and the poor.”

“I wanted to come out to show my solidarity,” he added. “We all benefit from public employees.”

Dan Freberg, a post-baccalaureate secondary education major, took the megaphone after Allison.Freberg, who is a fourth-generation public worker, said unions are not only important for teachers.

“It’s not just about collective bargaining. It’s not just about making a living.It’s about community,” Freberg said. “When you destroy public education, you ruin the community that those kids and those teachers live in.”

Freberg added workers need to speak up who complain public unions have great health benefits and pensions that aren’t the same as theirs.

“Don’t tear them down, don’t ask why they have those great things and say that they shouldn’t have them,” he said.”Ask why you don’t have them.”

Union leaders have gone on record to say they are willing to pay more toward their benefits, but they will not give up their ability to bargain, CNN reported.

After the speeches, the crowd began the mile-long descent down Sixth Street towards the Charleston Court House with mathematics professor Charles Delman punctuating each step with drum in hand.

One of those people in the crowd in front of the courtroom included Jeff Bailey, an employee from Facilities Planning and Management. Bailey said workers should stand up to retain the bargaining rights that are the cornerstone of unions.

“Things need to change for the American people,” he said. He later continued, “I can’t see why people can’t wake up and see that.”

Addressing the crowd, Delman said union members will have to do whatever it takes to retain their collective bargaining rights.

“Today we are having a rally – a polite legal rally in support for our brothers and sisters in Wisconsin,” Delman said. “But if it takes more than that are we going to stop here?”

With a rousing “no” from the audience, Delman had his answer.

Shelley Holmgren can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]

‘Walking against Walker’

Walking against Walker

Dan Freberg, a post baccalaureate secondary education major, speaks through a megaphone about dedication to public service Wednesday afternoon outside Booth Library. Freberg along with a few dozen others attended a solidarity rally for union workers in W


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