As Wisconsin union workers continue to protest Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposal, Organizing for America — the Democratic National Committee’s campaign arm housed at BarackObama.com — is “mobilizing to defend Wisconsin’s public employees’ right to organize.”
During his Wednesday broadcast, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh condemned the outspoken protesters for shutting down the work of democratically elected representatives doing the “people’s business.”
Building on the momentum in Wisconsin, OFA has also started to mobilize its army of followers in Ohio and Indiana where measures similar to Gov. Walker’s are taking shape.
On Thursday, an estimated crowd of more than 1,000 descended on the Ohio statehouse in Columbus to march in favor of state workers’ collective-bargaining privileges. According to one report from the Huffington Post, organizing efforts in Ohio are “about a week behind that in Wisconsin.”
A DNC staffer told The Huffington Post that the group upped its efforts in Wisconsin after Chairman Tim Kaine spoke with local legislators last week. OFA then began organizing turnout for Thursday’s statehouse rally and running phone banks in Ohio targeting state senators, which are slated to continue next week. This weekend, organizers have set up door-to-door canvassing in key districts that they hope will likewise put pressure on swing lawmakers.
OFA National Deputy Director Jeremy Bird said volunteers first alerted the group to the contested Ohio legislation. “The energy is pretty remarkable,” he told The Huffington Post. “People started to contact us, and they’d call our office and our volunteers, and say, ‘This is a big deal. This is going to affect my family.’ … That started to really simmer earlier this week in Ohio, and it’s starting to pick up the pace.”
In Ohio, major labor unions including AFSCME and the AFL-CIO are also stepping up the pressure against Gov. John Kasich (R) and the bill’s supporters. The AFL-CIO estimated that tens of thousands of phone calls, emails and handwritten postcards have been delivered to state senators in opposition to the legislation, and a spokesman said the protests will continue in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, El Rushbo is praising Gov. Walker for standing firm in the face of powerful special interest groups looking to shut his proposal down.