Roughly 2,500 state and local government workers gathered on the west side of the state Capitol tonight in Sacramento to show support for their counterparts in Wisconsin.
Meanwhile, about 35 tea party activists gathered across the street to voice their support for Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker's plan to limit collective bargaining rights for Wisconsin public employees.
Participants in the union-sponsored rally held printed and handwritten signs: "We stand with Wisconsin workers!" and "United we bargain. Divided we beg!" A few signs called for labor action: "Wisconsin general strike NOW!"
The event -- sponsored by the California Teachers Association, SEIU Local 1000, AFSCME, the Sacramento Central Labor Council and the California Labor Federation -- was pulled together quickly over the holiday weekend. Speakers exhorted the crowd to cheer for collective bargaining rights and insisted that the "attack on public employees" is spreading.
Indeed, the crowd was buzzing with the news that California Assemblyman Allan Mansoor, R-Costa Mesa, has introduced a bill to end union bargaining of public pension terms.
(The slightly askew rumor circulating through the crowd was that Mansoor's measure was as wide-ranging as Walker's plan, which would limit public employee collective bargaining to wage negotiations.)
Across 10th Street from the union demonstration, a small group of tea party activists held signs with slogans such as, "No more free lunch!" and "Scott Walker for President!"