Over 2,000 people in Chicago rallied in the Thompson Center Plaza on Feb. 27 against attacks on unions and in solidarity with workers in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, and all over the country. The protest brought together union members from many different work sectors: teachers, nurses, other healthcare workers, public workers and students. Young and old, new and seasoned activists, people from all over Illinois took to the streets to support the unions, public sector workers, and workers’ rights.
Many community and union leaders spoke at the rally. The main demand was “Kill the Bill” and “Workers’ rights are human rights!” Placards demanding “Tax the Rich!” were popular among the crowd.
Liberation interviewed a group of Chicago-area public school teachers, who attended the rally to support their right to collectively bargain. One long-time teacher from Evanston, Illinois told Liberation, “We are so happy that we are able to fight back against these cuts. If they can do it in Wisconsin, they can do it here in Chicago. We have already seen so much cut, it’s time that we fight for our jobs.”
Lauren Sack, a high school Spanish teacher in Naperville’s Indian Prairie School District 204, said she was at the Chicago rally to defend fellow educators in Wisconsin. “If we don’t protect the rights of our colleagues across the nation, ultimately, our own rights are in danger,” she said. Another protester, Rich Bonzani, a laid-off electrician from Mokena, Illinois, explained, “If they bust the unions up (in Wisconsin), it’s a matter of time before they bust the unions up here.”
Protesters also welcomed information on future street actions promoting workers’ rights. On March 19, the 8th anniversary of the Iraq war, activists and workers from all over Chicago will hold a rally and march up Michigan Avenue demanding an end to the U.S. war machine, budget cuts and the anti-union attacks. Money for jobs and education, not war and occupation!