A local union rally to support Wisconsin public workers quickly turned into a shouting match with Tea Party members outside the State House yesterday — forcing police to close Beacon Street, and Gov. Deval Patrick to make an unscheduled speech.
“I’m here to deliver one very simple message, which is we don’t need to attack public sector workers to make change for the people of the commonwealth,” Patrick said.
Police tried to keep the factions on opposite sides of Beacon Street before ultimately halting traffic and breaking up countless profane confrontations.
One hard hat-clad union member, Chris Galatis, berated Brad Marston for holding a sign reading, “Collective bargaining is a power not a right.”
“You have no idea about the struggle, have you ever worked for a living?” Galatis shouted at the Republican who unsuccessfully ran for state representative last year.
Three officers looked on before a fourth finally stepped in.
“The fact of the matter is what they’re trying to do is take away my livelihood,” Galatis said afterward. “They don’t understand not everyone is educated and can get a white-collar job.”
Tea Party member Carlos Hernandez blamed union members for instigating and said violence is a concern at protests.
“But we can’t be scared,” he said.
Tea Party members also took issue with local unions for fighting Wisconsin’s battle, which intensified when 14 Senate Democrats crossed into Illinois to prevent a quorum.
“I hope they don’t come back, I hope they stay out there,” union member Craig McLaughlin said. “I don’t think it’s going to happen here, but if you don’t show up and fight you’re going to lose it.”