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October 2011, Week 1

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Four NYC Unions Explain Why They Are Marching in Solidarity with Occupy Wall Street on Wednesday
by John Tarleton
The Indypendent
October 3, 2011

http://www.indypendent.org/2011/10/03/unions-in-solidarity-with-ows/

New York City labor unions will come out in support of
the Occupy Wall Street movement this Wednesday at 4:30
p.m. when they plan to rally in front of City Hall and
march down to Zuccotti Park. Here are statements from
four of the unions that will play a large role in the
protest:

Transit Workers Union Local 100

The Transport Workers Union Local 100 applauds the
courage of the young people on Wall Street who are
dramatically demonstrating for what our position has
been for some time: the shared sacrifice preached by
government officials looks awfully like a one-way
street. Workers and ordinary citizens are putting up
all the sacrifice, and the financiers who imploded our
economy are getting away scot-free, increasing their
holdings and bonuses.

Young people face a bleak future with high
unemployment, and minimum wage jobs. Public sector
workers face Mayors and Governors who demand massive
wage and benefits givebacks or face thousands of
layoffs. That's not bargaining. That's blackmail.

One out of six Americans lives in poverty today, and
the richest one percent control more wealth than at any
time since the Gilded Age of the 1920's.

The TWU Local 100 Executive Board is united in our
determination that this state of affairs is dangerous
for America and destructive to its citizenry. We
support the Wall Street protesters and their goal to
reduce inequality and support every American's right to
a decent job, health care, and retirement security.

Local 100 is a local (or chapter) of the Transport
Workers Union of America, a union which represents
transportation workers in bus and subway lines, and
several airlines nationwide. It has about 38,000
members.

1199SEIU, United Healthcare Workers East

The 1199SEIU Executive Council voted unanimously on
September 30 to give all-round support to the ongoing
Wall Street occupation. Monday, October 3, marked the
17th day of the occupation which has picked up
participants, supporters and media attention by the
day.

Other labor support has come from the Transport
Workers, United Steelworker and AFL-CIO president
Richard Trumka. A labor-community March on Wall Street
is set to leave New York's City Hall at 4:30 on
Wednesday, October 5, and end at Zuccotti Park (renamed
Liberty Park) which is the site of the occupation.

Sponsors of the Oct. 5 march include the Working
Families Party, United New York, New York Communities
of Change and the Strong Economy for All Coalition,
which includes in addition to 1199SEIU, SEIU Local
32BJ, the New York AFL-CIO, United Federation of
Teachers, Citizen Action, NYSUT, Communications
Workers, and the NY Central Labor Council.

1199 members, families and friends are encouraged to
take part.

Among those who have joined the occupation for periods
are Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, NAACP leader Ben
Jealous, Professor Cornel West, filmmaker Michael
Moore, Def Jam impresario Russell Simmons, actors Susan
Sarandon and Mark Ruffalo.

After the 1199 Executive Council heard a report on the
Wall Street occupation by two of its young activists,
President George Gresham offered the motion to support
the action. Included in the motion, with friendly
amendments, were the union's agreement to reach other
to the rest of the labor movement to build support for
the occupation, to support future marches and actions
that grow out of OccupyWallStreet, to feed the
occupation participants for a week, to have 1199 nurses
help train those staffing the first-aid care station at
the occupation, and to set up an 1199 "task force"
charged with help in whatever ways possible.

Representing more than 300,000 members and retirees in
New York, New Jersey, Maryland, the District of
Columbia, Florida and Massachusetts, 1199SEIU United
Healthcare Workers East is the largest local union in
the world.

Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union

Today Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail,
Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), released
the following statement of support and solidarity for
the Occupy Wall Street resistance effort on behalf of
the union:

"Occupy Wall Street has brought into sharp focus a
reality that cannot be denied: corporate greed is
responsible for harming the lives of millions of
working people and unemployed people.

"A small group of firms, banks, and corporations now
hold trillions worth of our collective wealth and
assets. That money should be invested in job creation
on a massive scale and used to rebuild countless lives
damaged by the recklessness that caused the recession.
But Wall Street won't do it. Instead, the financial
elite want to dictate the future of our entire economy
and democracy in ways that will protect the wealthiest
1% at the expense of everyone else.

Over the past few weeks, though, courageous men and
women have been occupying Wall Street-not just the
place but the starring role Wall Street likes to play
in our public discourse, a point that much of the
mainstream news coverage and editorializing has not
fully appreciated.

After hearing the top 1% lie for so long, they are
speaking the truth known by the unheard 99%. That's why
their message resonates so widely. They offer a clear
perspective that rarely generates this kind of
attention but that millions of regular people, not just
activists and unionists, share: Wall Street should not
control our economy, our democracy, or our lives. When
Wall Street wields so much power and influence, we are
fundamentally worse off.

Every hour that Occupy Wall Street continues, it can
help revitalize a progressive movement nationally and
globally that aims to achieve new victories for all
working people and the unemployed. It's up to us
whether we harness their energy and commitment at the
bargaining table, in the halls of government, and among
the coalitions and alliances we try to sustain.

Too many of the occupiers have been arrested
unnecessarily and unfairly. I urge Mayor Michael
Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly to instruct
the police force to show restraint, civility, and
respect when dealing with the increasing number of
peaceful people occupying Wall Street.

In the days ahead, the RWDSU will do everything it can
to learn from and assist Occupy Wall Street as we fight
to raise standards in the industries where we organize
and represent workers; as we fight to pass living wage
legislation that will create more good jobs; as we
fight for the fairness and justice that all working
people and the unemployed deserve."

RWDSU represents 100,000 members in the U.S. and Canada
who work in a wide variety of occupations that range
from food processing to retail to manufacturing to
service and health care.

Professional Staff Congress-CUNY

The PSC Executive Council voted Friday (September 30)
to endorse the labor support rally for
#OccupyWallStreet on Wednesday, October 5, joining
several other unions, CUNY students and community
groups.

In endorsing the labor support rally, the Executive
Council cited the convergence between the PSC's
campaign for a progressive tax structure and
#OccupyWallStreet's focus on the huge economic
inequities in this state. We hope that in bringing
strong labor support to the October 5 rally we can
elevate the statewide campaign not to give millionaires
a tax break when schools are being starved of funds,
CUNY students are paying more, thousands of state
workers are facing layoffs, and hundreds of people
across the state are in desperate need after massive
floods.

PSC members will gather at the intersection of Warren
St. and Broadway at 4:15 PM before joining the rally at
City hall. After the rally at City Hall, the
demonstrators will march over to Zuccotti Park, site of
the #OccupyWallStreet protest. The event will run until
about 7:30 PM. We look forward to seeing you there.

PSC-CUNY represent 24,000 faculty and staff who work at
the City University of New York and at the CUNY
Research Foundation.

____________________________________________

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