This Is What Democracy Still Looks Like

Originally posted Mar 13, 2012

  Clockwise from Top Left : "Tier It Down" Rally in Zuccotti Park (New York City), demonstration during Philadelphia Mayor Nutter's budge address, and about 65,000 people gather at the "Reclaim Wisconsin" rally (Madison, Wisc.)

Clockwise from Top Left: "Tier It Down" Rally in Zuccotti Park (New York City), demonstration during Philadelphia Mayor Nutter's budge address, and about 65,000 people gather at the "Reclaim Wisconsin" rally (Madison, Wisc.)

AFSCME members were busy this weekend making their voices heard by public officials who prefer to dictate rather than negotiate. In Madison, New York City and Philadelphia, AFSCME members and allies rallied in opposition to anti-worker tactics used by Wisc. Gov. Scott Walker, N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.

Approximately 65,000 AFSCME members, labor allies, progressive activists and concerned Wisconsinites gathered at the Wisconsin state capitol in Madison on Saturday, the one-year anniversary of Gov. Walker stripping public workers of their rights. These demonstrators rallied against the backdrop of upcoming recall elections for Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, state Senate Leader Scott Fitzgerald and three other state senators. The event also marked the premiere of the feature-length documentary, We Are Wisconsin.

In New York City, AFSCME members and allies held a “Tier It Down” rally in the birthplace of the Occupy movement and the 99 percent, Zuccotti Park. They gathered in the public square to protest Gov. Cuomo’s proposed “Tier VI,” a plan to cut public workers’ pensions by an additional 40 percent.

In Philadelphia, even though local AFSCME leaders helped Mayor Nutter find more than $400 million in savings and $100 million in new revenue during his first four years in office, Nutter has turned his back on public service employees. City workers made their disappointment heard at Nutter’s budget address to the city council, booing and making noise from the visitors’ gallery as Nutter unfairly blamed public workers and AFSCME for the City of Brotherly Love’s fiscal woes.

Demonstrators in all three locations this past week did their best to draw attention to disparity between the top one percent of income earners and the rest of the nation, to public officials who prefer to balance their budgets on working families’ backs and to the unprecedented stripping of workers’ rights.

“Our society is rapidly losing its moral balance as we demand no sacrifices from those who are wealthy,” said Rabbi Michael Feinberg, Executive Director of the Greater New York Labor Religion Coalition in Zuccotti Park, “but make repeated demands for sacrifices from working men and women.”