Reporting by Jennifer Brandel
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who made news this year when he signed a bill that shut down the collective bargaining rights of state workers, spoke at the Union League Club of Chicago this morning. Meanwhile, members of Stand Up! Chicago, a coalition of community and labor organizations with ties to Occupy Chicago, had announced in advance that they planned to protest the governor’s appearance, and did just that:
Inside, covert protesters sat at six tables of the breakfast meeting, disguised in suits and biding their time.
Just minutes after Gov. Walker took the microphone, they stood and began chanting:
WBEZ’s Jennifer Brandel was in the room and captured the above audio of the protest unfolding on her iPhone. She describes the scene this way:
[The protesters were] mostly young – mid-20s to mid-40s. They used each other as “human megaphones” as they took turns lobbing complaints at Walker. They ended with the chant: “Union busting is disgusting.”
Walker stood next to the podium as the emcee tried to get rid of them. First, the emcee tried talking over the protesters, then shouting over them, then getting everyone in the room to clap so no one could hear them. Finally the protesters were ushered out while again chanting, “union busting is disgusting” and “we are the 99%.”
The chant got a few claps from some folks in suits and ties across the room. But they didn’t appear to be part of the protest. Outside the Union League Club, roughly 30 other people were protesting Walker with signs and a megaphone. After protesters left the ballroom, Walker joked about them and launched back into his talk. He received a standing ovation from those left in the room. This video is the tail end of the raucous protest. To hear it unfold, listen to the above audio clip.
No protestors were arrested as they had legally bought tickets to the breakfast meeting and left when asked. Union League Club General Manager Jonathan McCabe called the event “interesting.” He added that he did the same kind of thing himself in the 1960s.