A Look at Public Worker Rallies Around the Country


NEA President Dennis Van Roekel and NEA leaders rally Friday in Portland, Ore., in solidarity with their colleagues in Wisconsin. Photo: Jim Hristakos


In Wisconsin, WEAC has stood firm for collective bargaining, while agreeing to the changes proposed by Governor Walker and offering to meet with him.  Demonstrations are continuing throughout the week. For recent articles on the crisis in Wisconsin, visit the Wisconsin state page here on Education Votes.

Upcoming Events

Rallies continue throughout the state. Local events are planned for Green Bay, Eau Claire, Appleton, Oshkosh, Waupaca, Elkhorn, Milwaukee, Platteville, Racine and Kenosha. For a full schedule of events continuing throughout the week, click here. On Saturday, March 19, Iraq Veterans Against the War will be sponsoring a veterans’ march on the Capitol in Madison. For more information on this event, visit the IVAW site here, or to RSVP directly for the event, visit the rally page on facebook.


While the nation seems to have its eyes and ears on Wisconsin, attacks are happening all across the country. In Indiana, ISTA held a press conference Tuesday, February 22nd. Through ads and media relations, ISTA is taking to the airwaves and putting the voice of their members into the media this week. NEA Vice President Lily Eskelsen visited Indianapolis to speak at the rally.

The Indiana State Teachers Association is held a rally on Saturday, March 5. The rally took place at the Indiana Statehouse, West side steps, in Indianapolis. For more information, please click here.


The Maryland State Education Association held a “Keep the Promise” rally on March 14. More than 15,000 attended the event in Annapolis, MD and marched on the capitol to urge the General Assembly to reject devastating cuts to education and retirement security.

For the most up to date information on rallies and events planned throughout the state in Maryland, visit the MSEA webpage here. You can find more information and MSEA’s “Keep the Promise” campaign here.


Last Wednesday, nearly 5,000 educators in Ohio rallied with other public service employees to oppose Senate Bill 5—which is designed to repeal the state’s 27-year-old collective bargaining law. Several members also testified at a legislative hearing appealing to lawmakers to oppose SB5.  Members turned out at the State Capitol to demonstrate their belief that in a tough economy, we must focus on the essentials and that nothing is more important than giving our children a quality education that prepares them for good jobs. Visit the Ohio state page here on Education Votes for the latest articles and information on Ohio.

The Ohio Education Association is holding rallies throughout the state. For the most up-to-date information on local rallies in Ohio, visit their facebook page here.


Idaho educators are working with parents, students, and others in their community to defeat harmful education reform proposals pushed by Idaho’s Superintendent of Education Tom Luna. Luna introduced two pieces of legislation. The first provides every Idaho ninth grader with a laptop by increasing class sizes. A second would silence the voice of educators by restricting collective bargaining. Parents, students, and educators have bombarded Idaho legislators with calls and emails. Parents held a rally recently in front of the Capitol in Boise that was attended by more than 300 students and educators to protest increasing class sizes. For more information on the current status of these bills, click here.

The Idaho Education Association will be hosting rallies throughout the state this week. Click here for the most up-to-date information on how you can get involved.


Several Bills have been introduced to the 107th Tennessee General Assembly that attack public school teachers and labor. To assist in the effort to defeat these punitive bills, the Tennessee Education Association sponsored a march to Legislative Plaza in downtown Nashville on March 5.  For more information on the march, click here.  For more information on these bills attacking public education, and to send an email to your elected officials,  visit the TEA legislative action page here.


The Michigan Education Association is holding a rally on Wednesday, March 15. The rally will take place at the State Capitol in Lansing. Lasting from noon until at least 6:00, events are scheduled for 2:00 and 4:00. The program is being sponsored by Working Michigan, a coalition of progressive and labor allies including AFL-CIO, AFT, UAW, SEIU and others.

For more information on the event, click here. For information on the Michaigan Education Association’s legislative priorities, you can read their March 15 legislative roundup here.


A number of “education reform” and funding proposals have been introduced in the Florida legislature and many of them will harm the states educators and students. For more information on these bills, please visit the Florida Education Association’s Legislative Action Center.

Rallies are scheduled throughout February and March in various locations throughout Florida. For the most up-to-date schedule of events, visit FEA’s rally page.


CTA President David A. Sanchez and California educators from around the state joined public sector union employees and supporters at a “We Are One” candlelight vigil Tuesday evening on the West Steps of the Capitol in Sacramento as a show of solidarity for Wisconsin teachers and public employees whose collective bargaining rights are under attack. Click here for photos and videos from the event.

For more information and an up to date event calendar, visit the California Teacher Association’s homepage here.


Rally to Save the American Dream: Moveon.org and a number of union and non-union sponsors hosted rallies in all 50 states on Saturday, Feb. 26. To read our complete roundup of recent rallies, click here.

Want to help but can’t get to a rally? Sign our national petition to support educator and worker rights!

We’ve started a new group on flickr where you can upload your own rally photos. If you are a flickr user and want to get involved, visit our new group page at www.flickr.com/groups/educationvotes/

Reader Comments

  1. If republicans (I am one of them) really want to reduce government and expenditures, try to be more selective and reasonable in the options you choose.

    Instead of attacking hard working middle class taxpayers willing to teach (sometimes raise) students at salaries far below other professionals with multiple college degrees, why not reform the welfare programs and use the savings to fund education or reduce the deficit/spending.

    Start by requiring drug testing for everyone receiving monies from federal and state programs. Fail a test and miss a check. Fail another and miss 3 checks. Fail a 3rd test and you are out of the program forever. This would force many people to adopt better lifestyles and become productive at the same time. It might even have a positive effect on the kids that get off the bus at the schools.

  2. Oregon has had a series of rallies over the last week. Video of the rally in Portland where NEA President Van Roekel got the crowd fired up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOCBbB6uGKw

    Testimony from one of several teachers who showed support for Wisconsin workers at their own bargaining mediation rally: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxE87T-v4Xg

    Rally on the steps of our capitol: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UI7zSLCUuEk

    These videos, and photos of even more support of our union sisters and brothers, on our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/OregonEA

  3. We continent to work hard to educate, even as we are attacked and villafied in the conserative media.
    Stand proud teachers.

    1. I agree with your sentiment. But as an educator, please make sure you check your spelling before sending a message. It’s important for our credibility.

  4. Members and staffers at CEA (the Connecticut Education Association) joined Hundreds of union members and their allies gathered on the Capitol grounds Wednesday afternoon at a rally organized by AFSME and the AFL-CIO in an act of solidarity with public employees in Wisconsin. State Capitol police put the noon time crowd at 275 people, though others said it was closer to 500. Many held green printed signs with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees logo and the phrases “It’s About Freedom” and “We are the Middle Class.”

    Others clutched homemade signs with slogans that ranged from defiant “Unions say No to Wage Slavery” to “I [heart symbol] Teachers.” And held flags with the letters CEA or the AFT logo on them

    A video clip can be seen at http://cea.org/issues/news/2011/call-to-action-we-are-all-wisconsin.cfm

    Another rally is planned for Saturday, Feb 26th again at the Capitol grounds sponsored by MoveOn in solidarity with Wisconsin workers and in support of the right of all workers to a living wage with decent benefits, including health care, paid vacation, and paid sick leave. Over 400 individuals have signed up for this second event.

    1. Union members gather again in Hartford Saturday

      Hundreds of union members gathered again at the State Capitol in Hartford Saturday in support of union workers in Wisconsin who have been in a standoff with Governor Scott Walker’s proposal to take away the collective-bargaining rights of most public workers at a rally organized by MoveOn.

      The “Rally to Save the American Dream” drew more than 700 people to the capitol.
      Rallies similar to the one in Hartford were held in cities across the country and in Connecticut, it was the second held at the State Capitol in less than a week

    1. Really, union laborers are not getting rich and, at least in the state of NJ, pay out of our paychecks for our pensions just like a 401K, only the state gets to “hold” onto the money and NOT fulfill their commitment to match our contributions. Any other private industry would have a lawsuit for breach of contract.

    2. I agree with Alice Bender. I am a Pennsylvania teacher/taxpayer whose summers (summers off – what a laugh!!!) for the last 25 years have been spent working on concrete construction crews, doing side jobs and moonlighting; doing anything I could to raise a family and achieve our slice of the American Dream! Corporate America sold our middle class out to a higher profit margin! I, for one, am fed up! Historically, Unions and their members have fought tooth and nail, some losing their life, in the fight to create the American lifestyle which I’m sure you probably benefit from, (e.g.: 5-day work week, overtime compensation, child labor laws, rights for women in the workforce, a voice for the common worker for a fair wage vs. the corporate owners whose greed knows no bounds, etc). Google a brief (30 minute) history lesson on Unions! Of course, I’m sure you would like it much better if we all worked for $0.35/hr, lived in company issue dormitories across the street from the factories where we could go “home” from working a 12 hr shift, 7 days a week, eat some low mien, shower, shave, take a crap, and crawl into a cubicle for a good night’s sleep until it’s time to trudge back across the street and do it all over again so that our business leaders could squeeze even more milk out of the turkey. Complain, and they roll in the tanks! Yea, let’s give it ALL to the CEO traitors who sold out the middle class, and possibly many generations to come, for a higher $$$ return on their investment. While we’re at it, how about we just abdicate our entire livelihood to the good faith of the CEO’s who traded our technological secrets so that the top 20% of the country could make out like bandits, while the rest of us scramble for the crumbs. Sadly, our politicians, contained in the deep pockets of corporate Americans (I use that term loosely) who funded their election campaigns, are handing more and more of the power/decision-making of the United States’ government, created “by the people, and for the people” over to big money (how do you spell fascist?). What’s even sadder is that our fiscally conservative politicians, who give a free ride to big money, are pointing a blaming finger at, and have convinced our brothers in the middle class to join them in blaming their neighbors in the middle class. It was fine for Wall Street and the private sector to toss us a bone in the form of guaranteed pensions when they were sure their investments and 401Ks would obliterate these holdings by comparison. Holdings that benefitted the financial sector tremendously! Now that their unscrupulous (illegal?) dealings have brought us to the brink of economic disaster, they want to target the middle class. There is barely a mention anywhere in the media that points to the fact that the reason that these guaranteed pensions are billions in arrears is that the government, that was legally bound to match contributions, has absconded with or neglected to contribute their fair share to the fund. Where else could the average American get away with that, without an investigation into its legality? The rich, without a balance of power that the Unions provided for over a century, will always find a way to keep it all. Let them contribute their fair share like the rest of us! When it all dries up here and there is no more middle class purchasing power to fuel the number one economy in the world, I’m speaking of the United States of America, I wonder where all the CEOs and other traitors to the American people will go to follow the money? I wonder how they’ll make out in China, for instance…

  5. Why is there no organization for rallies coming from the MEA in Michigan. There are lots of us wanting to rally to support WI and also to stand against education cuts in MI, but there is no place to go to do this! Donna Klinefelter, retired

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