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“It was really shocking:” Some unhappy after public hearing on Right-to-Work legislation cut short

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MADISON (WITI/AP) — Senate Republicans on Tuesday evening, February 24th cut a public hearing on Right-to-Work legislation short, sending dozens of people who had been waiting hours to speak into a rage. FOX6 News spotted one man being led away in handcuffs as Capitol Police shut the building down shortly after 8:00 p.m.

The Senate Labor Committee began the hearing at 10:00 a.m. The committee's chairman, Stephen Nass (R-Whitewater), had planned to end testimony at 7:00 p.m. Nass ended the hearing around 6:20 p.m., saying union members had threatened to disrupt the proceeding at 7:00 p.m. Union leaders later said they planned only to complain about ending the hearing at 7:00 p.m.

Dozens of people who had been waiting to speak leapt to their feet, shouting profanities. The committee voted in the midst of the din. Nass' office said later the vote was 3-1 in favor, clearing the way for a full Senate vote on Wednesday.

Protesters, for the most part, left peacefully when the Capitol closed around 8:00 p.m. When that time came, the 30 or so that remained inside left the building, singing "Solidarity Forever." Several of those demonstrating said they don't believe there was any real threat to the proceedings that would force the meeting to end early. Included in that sentiment is the spokeswoman for Voces de la Frontera, whose organization was mentioned by Republicans as part of that threat.

"I think it was really shocking, but in some ways to be expected that the chair of the committee would use a really bogus claim that Voces and SEIU represented any kind of threat to the proceedings. There was absolutely no disruption and to me it`s actually very consistent with this hearing in this first place. This whole thing is being fast-tracked. It`s totally anti-Democratic," Christine Neumann-Ortiz said.

"I was actually waiting for my name to be called so I could come in and say what I needed to say about the bad bill. I don`t know where the threat is coming from but basically it was an excuse to clear the room," Mary Jo Walters said.

After the Capitol closed, only a couple protesters remained in the Capitol Rotunda. One of those demonstrators was ultimately arrested.

Demonstrators say they'll be back at the Capitol Wednesday as the full Senate debates the bill. Some say they know Republicans have the votes needed to pass Right-to-Work, but still, they want to make sure their objection is heard.

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  • Karen

    My dad was a union tradesman. Back then, unions were a good thing. Just like every good idea, sooner or later it becomes corrupted. Back then, the unions were patriots who loved this country. Now, they support a party that believes in a weak America, socialized medicine, and killing unborn babies. Some people want to work and have the choice of having their money support such things. Democracy used to mean freedom, now it means something else.

    • opinion8d

      Karen – very nice commentary!! They had their place, but like everything else, they became corrupted and supported their own agenda.

  • Mr. Bob

    So the union sheep are crying the blues because people want to have a choice in whether or not they have to become a member of a union. So bad so sad. Wake up union sheep, your union leaders only care about the union dues they extract from you each month they do not give a shi_ about what might be good for you. You had your “sick day” now go back to work so you can earn your wages so the union leaders can take your union dues from you….

  • sherri

    I will never forget my first union job. I was 20, working part time at a desk job at a nonprofit organization about 15 yeard ago. There were about 6 of us who covered the same position. One girl had unionized several years earlier to negotiate higher pay. I was forced to pay monthly dues out of my tiny little paycheck. About once a month, the union girl would put pro Democrat marketing in our company mailboxes. Im not a Democrat or a Republican and I didn’t appreciate having that propaganda shoved down my throat, courtesy of my own money. Thats why I support Right To Work.

  • abuela maria

    for those who are against it…dont ever complain about unemployment or underemployment again. It will bring more jobs. In my opinion, more people employed at a slightly smaller amount of pay is better than fewer people paid a slightly higher amount. More people employed. What is so hard to understand about this? Why is Voces so opposed to jobs being available for the unemployed in the low income areas of Milwaukee?! Why is a group like Voces so against getting jobs to the number one group that needs it…black men? Racist much, Christine?

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