Call it a statehouse divided. A pair of competing rallies took place outside the Missouri Capitol on Saturday in Jefferson City — with one rally on each side — sparked by ongoing protests over labor rights in Wisconsin.
On the river side, several hundred pro-union protestors, organized by Moveon.org, gathered.
They came out to stand in solidarity with state employees in Madison, Wisconsin, who for more than a week have been protesting a bill put forth by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker that would drastically reduce their collective bargaining rights.
Carrying hand-painted signs that read “No Union Busting” and “American Dream Stolen” supporters vented their frustrations about legislation working its way through the Missouri General Assembly.
Several of the speakers who grabbed the bull horn at the free-flowing event criticized the proposed right-to-work law, which they called the “right-to-work-for-less” law. The bill in question would prohibit membership or the payment of dues as a condition of employment.
On the opposite side, various Tea Party groups rallied several hundred feet away, condemning protesters and siding with Wisconsin’s governor.
The Tea Party protesters, who planned the rally after hearing about plans for the pro-union event, said Wisconsin state workers were putting themselves above the greater economic well being of the state.
A pro-union rally was also held in St. Louis County. More than 75, including a couple of state lawmakers, held a rally to stand in solidarity with state workers in Wisconsin. The group, organized by the AFL-CIO, then spread out into five state house districts to canvass.