Saturday, March 05, 2011

Thousands of Tennessee Teachers Rally at Capitol to Protest Union Busting Bill

Thousands of teachers from across the state braved the rain today to protest Republican efforts to strip Tennessee teachers of their collective bargaining rights. It was huge! It's been a long time since I've seen a demonstration that big in Nashville. The teachers were joined by sympathetic allies, union representatives, activists and Democratic lawmakers.

State Rep. Mike Turner (D-Nashville) pointed out that after Republicans finish busting teachers' unions: "They'll be coming after police officers, firefighters, construction workers and service workers."

"He has the power to stop this madness now," Turner told the crowd. "Gov. Haslam, if you're listening, please stop this terrorism against our teachers."

The demonstration was organized by the Tennessee Education Association or the TEA, not to be confused with the Tea Party! (See photos at their Facebook page.) Oh yeah, there was also a small Tea Party gathering:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Thousands of teachers and hundreds of tea party members gathered for separate rallies at the state capitol today, despite the heavy rain. At issue is a bill that would eliminate collective bargaining for teachers across Tennessee. The Tennessee Education Association is staunchly against the bill, while the Tea Party strongly backs it.

UPDATE: The local ABC affiliate estimates the protest to be 5,000 strong. See their video below (You may have to wait a sec, the video is slow to load). (Here's another video.) Update #2: Yet another video.

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