(CBS News) CHICAGO - Protests are scheduled around the country today as the group moveon.org organizes noontime rallies in all 50 state capitals as a sign of solidarity for the workers of Wisconsin.
CBS News correspondent Cynthia Bowers reports about a thousand protesters are expected in Chicago.
In Madison the political stalemate that has sparked these rallies continues.
After eleven days of protests, the Wisconsin state house began clearing out last night.
Three long nights of filibustering by House Democrats finally came to an end as the controversial bill to cut collective bargaining rights for most public workers passed the State Assembly in the early hours of Friday morning.
"What a terrible, terrible day for Wisconsin," said one Democratic Assemblyman. "What's started here goes way beyond tonight and goes way beyond this building."
And even outside its border. Protests have spread to Ohio, Indiana, and on Friday to New Jersey, where thousands came out in support of Wisconsin workers.
In Providence, Rhode Island - where the school committee is currently facing a $40 million budget deficit - the school board voted in favor of sending termination letters to the city's nearly 2,000 city teachers. The mayor insists not every teacher will lose their job.
"I feel numb. I almost feel like I need to mourn the death of an innocence. It's just surreal," said Providence teacher Mary Bush.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is hoping to avoid the "dire consequences" of potentially laying off 1,500 state workers, which he says will be necessary if the legislature doesn't approve his budget plan as-is.
On Friday, he repeatedly called for the 14 Democratic State Senators who have been MIA for ten days to come back to Madison.
"Come back to the state capitol," Walker said. "If you want to participate in democracy. democracy happens when you are in the arena. The arena is not in Rockford, Illinois. It's not in Freeport, Illinois. It's not in Chicago."
Illinois might be the safe house for Democratic politicians in neighboring states, but the state budget is considerably worse here in Illinois with a $15 billion shortfall.
The top House Democrat here in Illinois hinted recently that he was open to discussions about scaling back state worker's pensions - a move that is sure to be a talking point at today's rally.
I was at a rally today in Medford, Oregon! :)
erunamiryene posted this slide show of the rallies today.