In at least three states through the mid-western US there are protests against pending anti-union legislation.
Protesters gathered in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana, where Republican governments have argued that the moves are needed to balance state budgets tormented by deficits.
In Indiana, House Democrats, in an attempt to block votes on labor bills, decided to leave the state. Only two of the 40 Democrats came into session on Tuesday morning.
The Republican state government has vowed to push a bill that would curtail private-sector unions by forbidding employers from requiring workers to pay union dues, a standard provision of union labor contracts.
About 4,000 union protesters filled the statehouse, and later Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, a Republican said to be considering a run for the White House in 2012.
In Ohio, thousands of labor union activists packed onto the grounds of the state capitol building, protesting against legislation backed by Republican Governor John Kasich that would restrict public employees’ collective bargaining rights.
In Wisconsin, Republican Governor Scott Walker said he will not back down in the face of tens of thousands of union workers. The bill Governor Walker and the Republican legislative majority back would also require state workers to contribute more to pension and healthcare coverage.