Union Members, Wall Street Protesters to Converge at Police Plaza

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Protest signs line a sidewalk in the Wall Street area. (Kathleen Horan/WNYC)

Labor activists and members of the Occupy Wall Street protests will converge at One Police Plaza Friday evening to protest police tactics, namely the use of pepper-spray against some of the protesters during a march last weekend.

The development comes as a number of large unions are signing on to the protests, now on their 13th day.

Yesterday, members of Transport Workers Union's Local 100, which represents 38,000 MTA workers, agreed to back the protesters with financial support and manpower.

Local 100 President John Samuelsen argues that higher taxes on the wealthiest New Yorkers would help offset the job losses of workers in recent years.

The Wall Street protests, he said, are bringing attention to "the great injustice that the wealthiest New Yorkers have received a tax break at the very moment in time when working families in New York are suffering."

The pepper-spraying incident has galvanized support for the protesters, said Alex Vitale, a Brooklyn College sociologist who will be at the Friday's rally on Police Plaza.

"It's turned something that was a fairly small group of people, operating somewhat under the media radar, into something that's getting significant press coverage and a lot of support," he said.

Vitale is one of several members of the executive council of CUNY's Professional Staff Congress — a union of 20,000 faculty and staff — who have signed on to a statement condemning the pepper-spraying of several female protesters last Saturday by Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna. The incident, which was caught on video that subsequently went viral, has prompted an investigation by the NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau.

Labor groups will be joining the protesters next Wednesday, as well. A number of labor unions and community organizations will be marching with the protesters from City Hall to Zucotti Park, where the Wall Street protesters are camping out. Executive Director of New York Communities for Change and march organizer Jon Kest said the United Federation of Teachers, the Communications Workers of America, the Transit Workers Union and Service Employees International Union will participate in Wednesday's march.

Kest added Occupy Wall Street had "elevated the issues in a broad way" and would help raise taxes on millionaires.

"I think that it's tapping into something that people all over the country feel, [about] the billions and trillions of dollars, and bailing out the banks, the people that created the economic crisis, I think everyone believes that, all the polling suggests that, yet the debate in Washington and the debate everywhere else is about more tax breaks."


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Comments [8]

Woody from NYC

Hi John from Office-

The protest didn't lead to much as far as media spectacle, until the NYPD pepper sprayed a bunch of non-threatening, young, detained women in the face.

That opened up the door to the protest, and now local, national, and international media are highlighting growing inequality in wealth and income in the US, which the so-called "far-left" media doesn't usually talk about.

Not bad for a group of folks camping out in a public park!

Sep. 30 2011 10:17 AM
john from office

Soooo, sleeping in the park accomplishs what??.

Sep. 30 2011 09:44 AM
Jeneba from Brooklyn, NY

I would LOVE WNYC to do a story about why the New York TImes is not covering this story....

Sep. 30 2011 07:38 AM
Joe Zrnchik from Highland, IN

Militia Needed On Wall Street To Protect People From Government

Sep. 30 2011 06:54 AM
Louis Ricciardi from Brooklyn, NY

I work in the Financial District as a Barista and have witnessed the protests. Still, shouldn't there be protesting in Washington D.C.? Wall Street aren't the only ones to blame. Crooked and apathetic politicians should be pressured at all costs to shape up the country or be removed from office. I graduated with a masters in Negotiation & Conflict Management, so I hope the protests become a major turning point. But nothing will change until politicians answer for their wrongdoing.

Sep. 30 2011 05:59 AM
ANON2012 from issaquah, wa

My Plea to Everyone:

Our obligation to this movement is to donate what we can, at all costs. Allowing our fellow revolutionaries to feed themselves, wash themselves, medicate themselves and feel as comfortable as they can in a concrete jungle under constant scrutiny of police and federal agents. We will and can show our love in very unselfish ways, we must.

There is no reason to feel disconnected from this movement - we are them and they are us. We are the 99% of people who are being beaten, thieved, raped, enslaved and manipulated at every turn. Everything is an illusion - all of it. Every single bit of it from the foods we eat, the water we drink, the homes we live in, the paychecks we earn, the taxes we pay, the air we breathe - all of it is an illusion - a made up fairy tale told to us by the 1% . Are you ready for change?

We are not slaves, we are not beaten, we will not lay down and take this any more! We do have the power, we do have a voice, we are human beings and we are the 99%. They will hear us, but we have to speak loud. This is our chance America!

Here are my tips to help others not feel disconnected or not part of this - YOU ARE NEEDED - NOW! IMMEDIATELY!!!!!

Go now to nyc! Everyone and every cause is accepted! They need numbers more than anything! You can be part of history, written about in books, documentaries made about you and your revolutionary ideals. You, yes YOU. Go now.

Donate to the media team immediately - they have suffered targeted arrests, rainy weather, confiscations and they deserve our support.

Sep. 30 2011 03:05 AM

please cover the actual reason behind the movement. we are not an anti cop movement. the anti cop message was developed by the military to drive a wedge between the people and the police. imagine if the police here joined the movement as they did in egypt. again we are not an anti cop movement. we are a movement against corporate cronyism and banker corruption.

Sep. 29 2011 08:46 PM
Brandt Hardin from Clarksville, TN

The movement is gaining momentum after a week and a half and Occupy movements are popping up all over the country! Stand up together and use your voice to give to those without. Tax the rich and feed the poor- you are the 99%! See my Occupy Wall Street painting and Anonymous homage on my artist’s blog at where you can also see videos of the protests and police brutality as well as get other sources for coverage of the movement.

Sep. 29 2011 06:31 PM

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