NFFE Members and Other “Outside Agitators” Hold the Line in Wisconsin
Madison, WI – NFFE-IAM member Tim McKenzie and many of his fellow Minnesotans were among the tens of thousands of demonstrators in Madison, WI on Saturday. Protests continued against Republican efforts to strip collective bargaining rights from public employees and were bolstered by the presence of notable “outside agitators.”
One such agitator was celebrated filmmaker, Michael Moore, who flew from New York to Madison on impulse Saturday morning, much to the surprise and delight of over 40,000 pro-union protestors. Moore disputed Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s claim that Wisconsin was broke, saying that “the only thing that is broke is the moral compass of the rulers,” referring to the Governor and his anti-union colleagues in the State Senate. Moore told the crowd to be steadfast, adding, “You are not alone – America is with you.”
Also joining protestors on Saturday was Ian Murphy, editor of the Buffalo Beast and self-proclaimed “agitator”. It was Murphy who notably “stung” Gov. Walker with a phone call last week, in which he pretended to be conservative political bankroller, David Koch. Murphy recorded Walker stating that he would not negotiate with workers over his proposals, proving his dedication to eliminating collective bargaining rights at all costs. Murphy defended his impersonation of Koch stating that he just “gave him a rope” and that Walker “hung himself.”
The third “agitator” of note was Tim McKenzie, from NFFE Local 2165. An employee of the Superior National Forest in Ely, Minnesota, McKenzie travelled over 400 miles to join the protestors in Madison. When identified as a Minnesotan, Tim was cheered on by Wisconsin residents who are inspired by the nation-wide support they have receive since protests broke out three weeks ago.
“Tim’s presence in Madison was a mark of the solidarity that has been displayed since the start of the protests,” said NFFE Vice President John Obst, who has taken part in the protests since their outset.
“Even with daily protests at the Capitol for three weeks, and opinion polls that show support for public employee Unions, there has been no movement by either the Governor or the Republican-controlled statehouse to assure bargaining rights for public employees,” said Obst. “The fight will continue. A sleeping giant is now awake.”