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Public Employees are No Shrinking Violets

While politicians keep trying to take away their workplace rights, public workers and their supporters keep finding ways to have their voices heard.

Hundreds of New Hampshire small businesses took part in a 36-hour tweet-a-thon this week urging House Speaker Bill O’Brien to shelve Right to Work legislation.

O’Brien tried unsuccessfully to rally members in the state legislature to override Governor John Lynch’s veto of an anti-union Right to Work bill.

In Wisconsin, public workers have found a new way to get Governor Scott Walker’s attention when it comes to protecting their collective bargaining rights.

Protesters have erected “Walkerville” (a tent city) on the grounds surrounding the state Capitol in Madison.

Each day a group -- such as K-12 education or public service -- is highlighted and individuals discuss how Governor Walker’s budget would hurt their program.

Assistant majority leader Glenn Grothman, (R-West Bend) of the Wisconsin state legislature told CNN host Eliot Spitzer Wednesday that “Walkerville” is a part of the Madison ambience and protesters would not stop legislative activity.

“It’s like the lakes, the coeds and the ethnic restaurants,” Grothman said. “The permanent protesters are here and they are kind of lovable. I enjoy waving to them, but it doesn’t affect how we are going to vote,” he said.

When pressed by Spitzer if Governor Walker and members of the state legislature over-reached on the collective bargaining law, Grothman said no.

“I don’t think we are taking away any rights,” he said. “We are basically putting public employees in the same position as the vast majority of private sector workers in Wisconsin have been all along.”

Organizers plan to stay on the grounds as long as budget negotiations are taking place inside the Wisconsin state Capitol they said.

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