Mitchell Reports | February 18, 2011
>> thousands of teachers are among those protesters that you see behind john. many that at least 16 districts closed today due to lack of state. this morning "the washington state journal" ran an editorial saying, quote, school teachers shouldn't walk out on their students and community. their absence is hurting the cause. clay barb sert state government reporter for "the wisconsin state journal ." clay, good to see you. i know there's some that think this is a travesty for the schoolchildren of that state, but these teachers are talking about their pensions and they are worried about having to pay more for their health care costs, right?
>> reporter: yes, yes. they are struggling with this issue right now. it really does come down to their right to collectively bargain, for most of these teachers.
>> clay, how much --
>> reporter: i can --
>> how much given what the republican governor wants to do, how much would that save the state? is he saying that it's crucial in terms of the budget there in that state?
>> reporter: it's unclear right now. i mean, the governor says he needs to save about $137 million just for this particular budget, not going forward, but the problem is there's different ways to parse those numbers. the democrats say that actually he's exaggerated the numbers.
>> yeah. so what's your sense of that? you're the reporter out there. i know there's a democratic state senator who said today it's not about the money, that this is really about the unions' bargaining right, and that this is just the republican governor taking advantage of a budget situation and trying to break the unions with this. what is it about?
>> reporter: yeah. it's -- i think -- i think you could definitely say that it's more about weakening the unions in this state. the governor has put several pieces of legislation in this budget repair bill to specifically weaken the unions, so -- so i don't think there's any disagreement there, but as you can tell from the crowd and from the unions that are -- they are bringing people from out of state in to fight this. they sort of feel like this is the firewall. they have got to fight it here, or they are going to be fighting it in ohio, new york, new jersey, tennessee, michigan, so it really does come down to collective bargaining for most of these people.
>> clay barbour setting up what could be a very scary situation for a number of people and a number of