Protesters are digging in on the streets of Madison and show no signs of letting up as Senate Republicans try to pass a state budget bill.
The bill would eliminate most collective bargaining rights for government employees.
The crowd on the street is almost festive as tens of thousands sing songs, wave signs and sign petitions. Jesse Jackson arrived in Madison late in the morning and led the people gathered in the Capitol rotunda as they locked arms and sang “We shall overcome.”
Madison schools closed for the third straight day as teachers across the state called in sick to attend the protest.
About 25 Rockford union representatives made the trip to Madison, bringing with them jugs of water to give to protesters.
” This isn’t just about the union, it’s about the working class — enough is enough,” said Jay Ferraro, AFSCME Council 31 staff representative. “Wisconsin has had collective bargaining rights since 1959. For legislators to come in and think they can take those rights away from employees is just ridiculous.”
Ferraro said he will be leading another group of Rockford protesters to Madison on Saturday.