Rally Held Outside City Hall in Solidarity With Wis. Workers

Several thousand people gathered in front of New York's City Hall Saturday to show their support for government worker unions in Wisconsin.

They carried signs with slogans like "Unions Make Us Strong'' and "What Happens in Wisconsin Doesn't Stay in Wisconsin.''

Keith Henderson, a New Yorker and member of the Teamsters, said he was there to support his brothers and sisters in any way he can.

With cuts looming over state and city workers in New York, Henderson said he felt a connection to labor advocates and Democrats in Wisconsin but thinks "the battle line starts here...if Wisconsin goes down, the rest of the country will be a domino effect."

Dozens of people wore Cheesehead hats or jackets showing their membership in unions like the Teamsters.  Political leaders, including Rep. Charles Rangel and Rep. Anthony Weiner were also in attendance.

One activist said the anti-union push was "spreading like a pestilence."

The demonstrators said they fear the end of collective bargaining for all workers if Wisconsin's governor succeeds in an effort to weaken unions for public servants.

"We all support the people in Wisconsin and all over the country where labor is being threatened," said Judith Barbanel, a professor. 

Rep. Weiner told the crowd that workers were being unfairly scapegoated for the "crimes that happened down in the financial district."

A separate rally was planned for the state capital.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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