Published 07 Oct, 2011
TWU Local 100 amped up its alliance with Occupy Wall Street (OWS) this past Wednesday by joining the largest demonstration since OWS kicked off last month.
Shoulder to shoulder, nearly 15,000 union members, activists, students and Americans who want an economy that works for everyone united in Foley Square for Community Labor March Wednesday where they heard from numerous labor leaders and activists and then marched in solidarity to Liberty Square, also known as Zuccotti Park to join the OWS participants.
“One is joblessness, which is pervasive, and one is the disparity of wealth, which has continued to grow over the last several decades, and particularly in New York State right now,” said Local 100 President John Samuelsen.
Samuelsen and the other speakers all shared the same sentiment as Americans are facing one of the hardest financial times since the Great Depression with high unemployment rates, layoffs and outsourcing while Wall Street received bail outs funded by tax payers.
The crowd’s signs reflected the message with some reading, “We are the 99%”, a theme for OWS in response to the 1 percent of Americans who have the control the majority of the wealth in America.
Others chanted “Banks got bailed out! We got sold out!,””The people united, will never be defeated. The people united, will never be defeated!” and “Whose street? OUR STREET! Whose street? OUR STREET!”
Members from Communications Workers of America (CWA), Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), United Federation of Teachers and many others also spoke about the need to invest in America’s jobs and to focus on corporate greed’s impact on the nation and the ever-growing financial inequalities.
OWS is now a national movement since it started on Sept. 17, having spread to Texas, Colorado, DC and numerous other states it now has support from numerous organizations, such as MoveOn, AFL-CIO, AFT , TWU and other labor and activist organization.
The labor march followed Local 100’s injunction against the NYPD for commandeering four local buses to help transport arrested protestors on Oct 4. The court rejected the injunction last Monday.
Local 100 executive board voted unanimously to support OWS and their goal to reduce inequality and support every American’s right to a decent job, health care, and retirement security.
The Transport Workers Union International Executive Council also voted unanimously on October 5, 2011 to support Occupy Wall Street and similar actions across the country.