NASHVILLE, Tenn. – More than 5,000 members of the Tennessee Education Association marched through the streets of downtown Nashville on Saturday.
The TEA's main concern is that a proposed bill would strip the association of its exclusive bargaining rights in districts across the state.
“They are not about education reform, they are about hurting our union and trying to bust our union up,” protestor Diane Lillard said.
Lillard told Nashville's News 2 that she has been a school teacher for more than 30 years.
“This is citizenship. This is democracy happening when children see that teachers are going to stand up for themselves for the children for education all over the country,” Lillard said.
While members of TEA were marching through the streets of Nashville, members of the Tea Party held a counter rally on Capitol Hill.
Kyle Mallory was just one of the protestors at the Tea Party Rally.
Mallory told Nashville's News 2 despite being a seventh grade teacher, he supports the Tea Party.
“TEA right now has a monopoly or exclusivity on bargaining and representation that broke up standard oil company, that broke up AT&T, now it's time our state legislature break up teachers union,” Mallory said.
Saturday's protest was the largest on Tennessee's Capitol Hill in years.
At least 100 Metro and highway patrol officers provided extra security for Saturday's rallies.
- March 4, 2011: Competing rallies on Capitol Hill Saturday
- Feb. 23, 2011: Teachers show opposition to bills on Capitol Hill
- Feb. 21, 2011: Another bill draws opposition from teachers' union
- Feb. 16, 2011: Bill targets teacher collective bargaining rights