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Ruling on collective bargaining law shifts focus of rally at state Capitol

Ruling on collective bargaining law shifts focus of rally at state Capitol

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At a rally Friday at the state Capitol supporting Chicago teachers, former Madison Teachers Inc. president Peggy Coyne, center, and others cheer news that a judge struck down Wisconsin’s 2011 collective bargaining law.

In T-shirts emblazoned with slogans of solidarity, several hundred people turned out for a rally Friday at the state Capitol to show support for striking teachers in Chicago.

But the speeches quickly turned to another subject: a Dane County judge’s decision, announced just minutes earlier, striking down Wisconsin’s 2011 collective bargaining law, known as Act 10.

"It’s my birthday. And guess what? I got what I wanted!" a jubilant Kerry Motoviloff, president of Madison Teachers Inc., told the crowd before she read from the judge’s decision.

The rally’s original intent was to muster support for the Chicago Teachers’ Union in contract negotiations with Chicago Public Schools. Two buses were booked to leave Madison’s Labor Temple at 8 a.m. Saturday to join a teachers’ march in Chicago.

Several speakers at Friday’s Capitol gathering expressed pride that Chicago organizers were advertising their own "Wisconsin-style rally."

Motoviloff said she canceled her family’s Chicago travel plans so she could attend a news conference at 10 a.m. Saturday about the successful lawsuit against Act 10 brought by MTI and a union representing public workers in Milwaukee.

Travis Albert of Madison, a certified teacher who has been looking for a teaching job for two years, said he planned to travel to the Chicago rally.

"I support the teachers in their struggles against reforms that mean more privatized schools, more charter schools," said Albert, who works for an organization that helps people with developmental disabilities. "I see this as Chicago being ground zero for a broader goal nationally."

Eighth-grade social studies teacher Ron Martin came from Eau Claire, just as he joined months of protests against Act 10 last year. "I’m not able to go to Chicago, but I figured I could get here (to Madison) and lend my support," he said.

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