by Bailey Haack
On Saturday, nearly 70,000 protesters in Madison, Wis., took part in ongoing rival protests over planned budget cuts.
By the fifth day of this protest, opponents outnumbered the supporters of the bill, which was introduced by Republican state Governor, Scott Walker. A BBC News report said Walker insists that he has the backing of the state's voters and says that the bill is necessary to avoid painful job cuts.
The bill introduced in the Wisconsin congress would drastically cut wages and benefits of many public sector workers, including University of Wisconsin- Madison faculty, and Emergency Medical Services, according to the Star Tribune.
This bill would require government workers to put more money into their health care and pension costs, and it would limit collective bargaining, according to the Star Tribune. In addition, workers wouldn't be able to negotiate their benefits and working conditions.
Mariah Clark, a volunteer firefighter and an emergency medical technician at a University of Wisconsin hospital told Star Tribune that she stands to lose $250 per month from her income, including benefits. At the protest, she held a sign saying "EMT. Firefighter. Not the public enemy."
Union supporters in the Madison outnumbered the pro-Walker rally, organized by the conservative groups Tea Party Patriots and Americans for Prosperity, BBC News said.
Wisconsin is facing a $3.6 billion budget deficit in the next two years, and the public employee bill is expected to save $300 million in that period, according to BBC News.
Democrats said they were standing strong in their opposition of the budget, and a Star Tribune report said that negotiations at the capitol will continue.