Police, state troopers and firefighters are excluded from the proposal, and even as some marched on the downtown Capitol Square, hundreds of other officers from around the state provided security.
Sheboygan County Sheriff's Cpl. Matt Spence and Deputy Todd Traas stood guard on the Capitol's northwest side directing pedestrians toward entrances to the building.
"We left at 3 a.m. on Thursday and have been (in Madison) ever since," Traas said. Five Sheboygan County deputies were on duty Saturday.
They came equipped with riot gear, including helmets and batons, they said, but didn't expect trouble.
"It's been great," Spence said.
Richard Daley, 62, of Green Bay, who retired from the Madison Police Department after 20 years on the force, came back to Madison today "supporting the fact that we all see this as union busting and wage suppression. This is a long-term, downward spiral of wages for working families."
Wausau police Detective Cord Buckner, 42, stoically stood in the cold with an American flag wrapped around his face and holding a "Cops for Labor" sign as thousands of demonstrators marched around the Capitol. "I'm here to support all the unions' rights," he said. Saturday was his fourth day demonstrating in Madison since protests began, even though members of his union, the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, won't be affected directly by Walker's bill.
"The aggregate effect on public employees will affect police unions eventually," Buckner said.
Inside, Manitowoc Police Det. David McCue was on break and giving a tour of the Capitol and the demonstrations to his wife, Amy, and their daughters, Camie, 11, and Cora, 7, along with friend Mike York and his father-in-law, David Barta, of Sheboygan.
"I planned to be off today, but because I'm working we decided to bring everyone down and give them a quick tour," McCue said, as the chants of several hundred protesters reverberated through the rotunda, which has been filled with protesters for 11 days.
McCue, a Sheboygan Falls native, arrived at 2:30 a.m. Tuesday along with four other Manitowoc officers. Since then, he's been up every day at 4 a.m. to attend a 6 a.m. briefing before standing guard in the Capitol's east wing.
Dozens of law enforcement agencies, including the Department of Natural Resources, sheriff's departments and municipal police, were in Madison this past week after a mutual aid request went out from Emergency Police Services, part of the Wisconsin Division of Emergency Management.
One state official reported earlier in the week that about 200 officers from around the state have been in Madison each day this past week.
"I was asked if I wanted to come and I volunteered," said McCue, who was one of six Manitowoc Police officers on duty at the Capitol on Friday and Saturday. "We knew this was a piece of history and we wanted to be part of it."
He's had little time to gauge the impact of the demonstrations on the outside world, however.
"I've literally watched about 10 minutes of television in the last five days," he said. "I'm really sheltered here."
Many of those marching and joining in with protesters were Department of Corrections personnel, who, unlike police and firefighters, would have to pay more for health and pension benefits and would lose most of their bargaining rights under Walker's budget repair bill.
Sgt. Chris Phillips, 34, who has worked in the prison system for 13 years and is currently at the Winnebago Correctional Center in Oshkosh, said he came Saturday "to support my union members and stand up for bargaining rights."
Having to pay more for health insurance and pension benefits "would make things a little more strapped financially, which I'm prepared to deal with," said Phillips, a father of four. "But the loss of bargaining rights would make things more unstable for us."
Sgt. Thomas Molitor, 33, of the Green Bay Correctional Institution, said, "It's really important that everyone come out and say their piece."
It was the first day demonstrating for Molitor, who's been at the Green Bay facility since September and worked 14 years for the Department of Corrections.
"The atmosphere here is electric," he said, standing in the Capitol rotunda surrounded by other demonstrators.
Outside, Jason Mentzel, 27, an officer at the Oshkosh Correctional Institution, joined with hundreds of others marching around the Capitol Square, which is closed to traffic.
"I want to show my support for protecting bargaining rights," said Mentzel, who worked the second shift Friday night and arrived Saturday morning with about two dozen other Oshkosh Correctional workers who carpooled together today.