The outpouring of support for Wisconsin SEIU members these past few weeks has been overwhelming. Over 20,000 people sent in messages supporting them and our website has seen record traffic over the past week.
This renewed support for union members extends way beyond just our union. Last week, a USA Today poll showed 61 percent of Americans oppose taking away the right of collective bargaining. Significantly, 53 percent also oppose reducing pay or benefits for government workers.
In other words: Despite all the scapegoating of public service employees that has dominated the media these days, Americans across the board are supportive of unions and the right of workers to collectively bargain. The actions of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to break the state's public employee unions has exposed the anti-union assault as an ideological and political vendetta that goes way beyond any need to balance Wisconsin's or any other state's budget.
Keep reading for more details and photos from Saturday's rallies.
Save The American Dream Rallies
The corporate-backed political crusade to take away collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin, Ohio and other states has united and mobilized the labor movement like few other things in our history. That unity was in evidence everywhere on Saturday, when tens of thousands of people took to the streets of every single capital in America to stand with Wisconsin and demand an end to the attacks on workers.
The nationwide show of solidarity was sponsored by MoveOn.org, SEIU, AFSCME, the AFL-CIO, American Rights at Work, CREDO, USAction and dozens of other organizations. There was no shortage of media coverage, as both local and mainstream press sat up and took notice of these nationwide protests. The New York Times, the Associated Press, CNN, and The Washington Post all covered the protests, and #WeAreWI was one of the top trending topics nationwide on Twitter all day long.
Check out footage from a sampling of rallies SEIU members took part in, below.
SEIU ULTCW members attended massive rallies up and down California on Saturday, including ones outside the capitol in Sacramento and in front of City Hall in Los Angeles. More at ULTCW.org here.
SEIU Local 1000 members joined a rally on the west steps of the California State Capitol in Sacramento in solidarity with the people of Wisconsin.
District of Columbia
Members from the National Association of Government Employees (NAGE) joined with folks from 32BJ and Local 500 to protest in DC's DuPont Circle to show solidarity and support for our brothers and sisters in Wisconsin.
More than 25,000 working men and women rallied at the Indiana Statehouse on Saturday.
Several hundred workers and union supporters also rallied outside the Urbana, IL hotel where Indiana Democratic assembly members have been staying to keep anti-worker legislation from becoming law in Wisconsin.
SEIU Healthcare Michigan members braved the cold in Lansing, Michigan to join an estimated 2,000 union members and other activists at Saturday's Rally to Save the American Dream at the Capitol.
In Buffalo, 1199SEIU members joined more than 300 community activists, union members, college students and elected officials for a rally on the steps of City Hall.
State Employees Association of North Carolina (SEANC) members joined a rally with several hundred protestors at the state Capitol in Raleigh, NC on Saturday.
Around 200 hundred activists and SEIU demonstrated at the rally in Bismarck, North Dakota.
SEIU Local 503 members joined a large February 26th rally in support of Wisconsin public workers at the State Capitol in Salem, Oregon.
"We never want to see that happen here in Oregon," said SEIU 503 VP James Jacobson, an employee with the University of Oregon.
At the Capitol in Harrisburg and in Love Park in Philadelphia, SEIU members joined fellow brothers and sisters to rally for workers' rights and support Wisconsin and Ohio workers.
Washington State Patrol estimated the crowd of SEIU 775NW members and other supporters rallying at the Washington state Capitol in Olympia to be at least 2,500. "What's happening in Wisconsin and other states isn't just an attack on nurses, teachers and other public servants," said Kate Severson, a nurse at Western State Hospital. "It's an attack on patients, communities, and our basic values."
On Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011, members of SEIU Wisconsin Healthcare marched alongside the more than 70,000 citizens, public workers, union members and teachers gathered outside the Wisconsin State Capitol.
More rally photos on SEIU's Flickr page here.
Got more photos you'd like to share with us from Saturday's rallies? Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.