Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tennessee is not Wisconsin: Union thugs dragged out and arrested

In a scene that looked like it would morph into the debacle that occurred late last month and earlier this month in Wisconsin, public employee union thugs descended on the State Capitol in Nashville, Tennessee to protest a bill that would strip teachers’ unions of their collective bargaining rights.

But the Tennessee State Patrol was having none of it.

When seven protesters stood up and interrupted a hearing on the bill:

Troopers pulled the holdouts out of the room one by one, while lawmakers, lobbyists and other observers looked on. Several fellow protesters shouted: "Shame!"

The protesters, some of whom were dragged to a nearby conference room, were arrested and faced charges of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

Republican Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey of Blountville in a statement said he supports the right to protest and assemble peacefully in Tennessee. But he said the protesters went too far.

"This General Assembly will not be intimidated by nomadic bands of professional agitators on spring break bent on disruption," he said. "We talk through our differences here. Tennessee is not Wisconsin."

As in Wisconsin, the state of Tennessee faces a severe budget situation, and has to make difficult choices about where limited state revenues will be allocated. And, as always, the public employees’ pensions, healthcare programs and other benefits are on the cutting room table, just like everything else.

But the only way to sharply curtail the skyrocketing costs of these programs is to eliminate the public employees’ unions ability to negotiate the steady average annual increases they’ve enjoyed for decades and the taxpayers’ expense.

It has to stop, but the union thugs are not giving up without a fight. I suspect that before the day or the week is out, additional confrontations will take place in Nashville, as SEIU and AEA thugs mobilize and descend on the Music City.

Fortunately, Speaker Ron Ramsey and the Tennessee State Troopers are committed to maintaining order, and allowing the legislature to do the work the voters of Tennessee elected them to do.

Exit Question: Seeing the success that Wisconsin and soon to be Tennessee will have in slashing these bloated programs, when do other states realize their opportunity to get their fiscal heads back above water, and declaw these thuggish community organizers?

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