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Labor Protests in Wis., Both Pro and Con

MADISON, Wis. - About 200 protesters spent the night in the State Capitol, leading up to what police were anticipating would be the largest crowds seen yet in the week-long demonstrations against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's proposal to eliminate public employee unions' right to collective bargaining.

Crowds swelled to an estimated 40,000 on Friday as pro-labor protesters - including thousands of teachers, grade school children, firefighters and college students - protested the Republican governor's plan.

The crowds have been loud but peaceful. Police said no one was arrested Friday and since Tuesday only nine citations have been issued, all for minor offenses.

CBS News correspondent Cynthia Bowers reports more demonstrations are planned at the state capitol in Madison today.

But also planned on Saturday is a large rally organized by tea party groups in support of Walker's proposal, raising fears of confrontation.

Bowers reports pro-union protesters see this state as ground zero in their battle to save public sector unions. Republicans say, game on.

The fighting is over the Republican governor's plan to balance the state's budget by cutting the state's public employee unions' right to negotiate contracts on behalf of large groups - a move that would gut the union.

"A lot of sweat and tears went into getting to where we're at now, and we don't want to let that go," said teacher David Fry.

In an effort to postpone the vote, 14 Democratic senators fled the state.

Speaking from Chicago on "The Early Show on Saturday Morning," Democratic State Senator Jon Erpenbach said Walker's proposal "has torn the state of Wisconsin apart."

"That's not the right way to go," Erpenbach said. "The state employees have talked about the money and giving up the money, and that's fine. But what they have a problem with - and what a lot of us have a problem with - is the fact that Governor Walker is taking decades of union law and throwing it out the window and trying to bust the unions altogether, and that's just not the right way to go."

But Republicans, like State Rep. Robin Vos, say this will pass eventually.

"Elections have consequences," Vos told Bowers. "We had an election in Wisconsin that was literally a referendum on Governor Walker's plan to balance our budget."

Nine other Republican governors from Nevada to New Jersey are also targeting unions with various proposals.

In December Governor-elect John Kasich of Ohio spoke out against the right of public employees to strike and favored changing the law to revoke it.

"If they want to strike, they should be fired," Kasich said. "I mean, they've got good jobs, high pay, good benefits, a great retirement - what are they striking for?"

CBS News political analyst John Dickerson says Republican governors see pushback against unions as "a badge of honor."