Unions Join Occupy Wall Street

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

President of 32BJ Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Mike Fishman and president of the United Federation of Teachers in New York Michael Mulgrew explain why their unions are joining the Occupy Wall Street protests today.


Mike Fishman and Michael Mulgrew

Comments [44]

Marc from Brooklyn


I like how you dodged this City's history. I take it that you weren't alive back then. For you it may be novel, but for me, there would be little joy in repeating history.

And yes, I still work. I always work. During the deepest darkest depression I will make money. There's always somebody somewhere willing to pay for what I can provide.

Stop waiting around for someone to offer you an opportunity. Go out and make one yourself.

Oct. 05 2011 12:00 PM
French Farm Equpment in Protests from Cross Cultural Comparisons

Here's some cross-cultural protest info for
comparisons. In France, for example, it is common to use farm equipment, trucks or other heavy equipment in protests. Is that allowed here in the U.S. ? Has it been done here ?

Here are some sources (incl a youtube video) :

Oct. 05 2011 11:44 AM
R.I.C.O. charges for Robosigning Bank Leader from Demand RICO charges versus the robosigner Bank leaders.

Kelley Williams-Bolar is an Akron mom who was convicted of Felony perjury for trying to send her child to a better and safer school by listing her dad's address as her own.

Meanwhile, the Bank leaders who oversaw the fraudulent embezzlement of 1000s of innocent people's homes via the Robosigning scandal have gotten off with a slap on the wrist (that won't even effect them personally).

They should at least be charged with :
1) felony perjury and fraud - re the robosigning.
2) embezzlement (theft of the homes of people who hadn't even defaulted, and on people whose loans they did not have rights to forclose upon).
3) home invasion
4) Racketeering - under R.I.C.O. - a for pattern of engaging in fraud and embezzlement and conspiracy for profit.

Hopefully, the Attorneys General for NY, CA, OH and other states will consider filing these CRIMINAL charges. It is the just thing to do - and even if it fails - FILING the CHARGES will show that even the wealthy and powerful are not above the law.

If the prosecutors refuse to do their duty to protect American homeowners from Racketeering, fraud and theft, then hopefully protestors and supporters will note :

There is also a provision for private parties to sue. A "person damaged in his business or property" can sue one or more "racketeers".

The prosecutors may be reluctant to anger an organization with such powerful octapus-like tentacles throughout government and the economy - but then that's what R.I.C.O. was made for.

Granted, any politician who supports this will lose millions of dollars of campaign contributions, but they will gain the support and gratitude of most of the population who they serve. Again, this is what RICO was made for.

Demand RICO charges vs the robosigning Bank leaders.

Sources :

Oct. 05 2011 11:32 AM
Steve from Santa Monica, CA

After listening to Mr. Fishman & Mr. Mulgrew, I think what's apparent is that they are sending their respective members to join 'Occupy Wall Street' in an effort to mimic what occured at the WTO - Seattle conference in 1999, with the end-goal of inciting violence. The SEIU & UFT will bail their members out of jail and the original protesters will be left to twist in the wind.

Oct. 05 2011 11:26 AM
kathy from ct

I think what's missing in this discussion is the distinction between the individual and the corporation. Individuals aren't getting breaks and small businesses don't get breaks, but large corporations do get tax breaks and that's unfair. The oil companies lobbied for huge tax breaks, even though they are established and profitable. And now that corporations can lobby and influence elections, they are bound to protect their low-or no-tax status.

My dissatisfaction is not with my millionaire neighbor, it's with the hard-lobbying billion $$ corporation fighting regulations for clean air, affordable health care and safe food.

Oct. 05 2011 11:16 AM

@Marc from Brooklyn

Marc, there may be something between the failed status quo and a failed USSR.

A lack of open mind and creativity prevents the possibility of better alternatives.

That and too much undue Wall St.® influence ($$).

You must still have a job and a home.

Oct. 05 2011 11:14 AM
Edward from NJ

@John from NYC, the "forgive all debt" thing that's going around the conservative blogosphere is actually just a post from *one* user on the OWS forums. It's a ridiculous. It's so ridiculous that I think it's actually a prank. If it's not a prank, the writer is entirely out of touch with reality.

Oct. 05 2011 11:09 AM
Carola Burroughs from Bed-Stuy, Bklyn

It's not just the unions today, Brian...many other progressive groups are joining in. The emails I received were from New York Communities for Change (citing "many of our allies in community organizing.") ,, and We the World, And yes, my friend who's a teacher will also be there, with: "the grassroot teacher/parent/student
groups that I belong to. ( TEACHERS UNITE )." The big difference may be that this is described as "a permitted march."

Oct. 05 2011 11:04 AM
Edward from NJ

@Bill - you're exactly right. The way has set up their forum is just horrible. The goal of protesting is to draw attention to a cause, and when you get that attention you should have something to say. The lack of a strong message has created a vacuum, and idiots seem to be filling it with nonsense. Some of the things on that forum are so ridiculous that they are probably pranks posted by opponents rather than earnest proposals.

Oct. 05 2011 10:58 AM
Fuva from Harlemworld

Excellent responses on this page to Peter from Huntington. Problem is that most citizens -- including the vast majority of 'occupiers of Wall Street' -- lack this insight, which is critical to the current crisis/ discourse. How to change this?

Oct. 05 2011 10:57 AM
Marc from Brooklyn

from dboy:

"Perhaps Marc from Brooklyn is a frustrated old man."

Perhaps, but I remember this City's fiscal crisis. I remember when the tax base eroded to nothing. I remember when thousands of City employees were laid off. I remember when the City was utterly unable to provide what had been traditionally considered basic services, like sanitation and police. Perhaps you don't remember that. Perhaps you do, and you enjoyed it, but from where I sat -- in the middle of Bushwick -- I can assure you that few did.

Now if it satisfies your sense of righteous indignation to label me a "kulak" and seize all of my assets, then have it, but know two things first: I'll fight; and even if you overcome me, you'll go broke. That you believe for a minute that a paradigm that failed in the USSR, the PRC, and North Korea can succeed now is surely the ultimate proof that hope -- unlike logic and common sense -- springs eternal.

Oct. 05 2011 10:56 AM

@Joe Mirsky from Pompton Lakes NJ

Thanks for your notes.

Looking forward to seeing more of your work.

Oct. 05 2011 10:53 AM
Martin from west side

We need free fair elections not those dominated by rich contributors.
There needs to be a limit on campaign spending as is the case in most European countries,eg,France,Norway.
Increasingly in the US,our electoral process is dominated by the wealthy.

Oct. 05 2011 10:52 AM
Joe Mirsky from Pompton Lakes NJ

From the infamous Citigroup "Plutonomy" memos of 2005-2006: "The World is dividing into two blocs - the Plutonomy and the rest. The U.S., UK, and Canada are the key Plutonomies - economies powered by the wealthy. Continental Europe (ex-Italy) and Japan are in the egalitarian bloc."

The memos went on to foreshadow the Occupy Wall Street movement: "At some point it is likely that labor will fight back against the rising profit share of the rich and there will be a political backlash against the rising wealth of the rich."

Here's my research, from my book Ornamentally Incorrect.

In 2007, the top 1% got 24% of income. In 1915 it was 18%, rose to 23% by 1929, fell with the crash to 15%, then fell to under 10% from 1953 to the late 70's. Economists call this the "Great Compression". Ushered in by the New Deal, the rise of labor, and the GI Bill, it coincides with the golden era of the middle class in America. The subsequent rise in income inequality is called the "Great Divergence."

Oct. 05 2011 10:50 AM

Comments have been moderated. Please remember to keep comments on topic, civil, and brief.

Oct. 05 2011 10:47 AM
RJ from prospect hts.

The people who are targeted as "not paying taxes" are the poorest who, if they're able to find jobs, are not paid enough to pay taxes and support themselves and their families. The top 1% buy lobbyists to take the work of poor people without regulation--without health and safety laws, without anti-discrimination laws, without minimum wage laws (here I won't even touch the purchase of elections). The poor/working class don't have lobbyists to protect *their* interests to give them wages and working conditions high enough that they can both pay taxes **and** support themselves and their families. So to the fellow who wants those "who don't pay taxes" to pay before the wealthiest pay more, perhaps you should walk in their shoes first.

Oct. 05 2011 10:45 AM
Mike from Brooklyn.

Yes, Peter from Huntington finally partially corrected himself and said 'Federal taxes' when claiming that 50% don't pay any taxes. When you factor in the payroll tax, SS tax and state/ local sales taxes, EVERYONE pays taxes. Federal income tax is only one type of tax out there, and the rest are also moderately to very regressive to boot. I'm really sick of the "entrepreneurial spirit" crowd pissing in our ears and telling us it's raining. People really need to think for themselves, because both the right and the left only will tell them half the story.

Oct. 05 2011 10:45 AM
Gary Bernstein

What if we let the park be used for what it is intended for: recreation and attacked corporate crime in terms of ridiculous compensation/parachute packages. Standard operating procedure Boards of Directors. Where are the shareholder revolts?

Oct. 05 2011 10:44 AM
Andy from Livingston, NJ

I believe that the wealthy have received a disproportionate benefit from "the system". They are beneficiaries of our education, transportation, financial, communications, healthcare and other tax-supported systems. They should pay based not on their ability to pay, but on the benefit they receive.
Those who want the poor to pay more must realize that this will just keep them poor... but that's OK for most neo-Reaganites.

Oct. 05 2011 10:43 AM
Ally from nyc

We need to protect wallstreet at all cost.

they need to buy multi million dollar condo when bonus season comes around

Oct. 05 2011 10:43 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

As to the caller, he is mistaken in believing that the upper executives are responsible for the success of their organizations... all the people in the organization contribute to the success; the organization would do zero business without their efforts.

Nor is he correct in believing in the old "self-made man"... a myth, because society provides tons of resources, from his own education, to all the infrastructure that allows the businesses to operate and thrive.

Oct. 05 2011 10:42 AM
Amy from Manhattan

On Peter's call, are the 1% paying 40% of all taxes in the US, or 1% of the taxes on their salaries, because they're not taxed on their capital gains?

Oct. 05 2011 10:41 AM
Leah Hooper from Brooklyn

Peter from Huntington has his stats wrong. I sure hope the corporate overlords remember his sycophancy when they take over finally and have 100% of the wealth.

Oct. 05 2011 10:40 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

@Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan: I share some of your skepticism and the repugnance of those who are largely down there.

But even a stopped clock is correct twice a day, as the old saying goes. No, they don't have a great deal of experience in the world, but they somehow sense that something is just not fair in this country.

Dependable, scientific studies have shown that people have an innate sense of fairness.

Solid social research shows that the disparity in wealth in this country has been growing wider and wider -- well beyond any other western, 1st world nations. It is unsustainable and a violation of the social contract.

But speaking specifically to your point that NY is losing the critical mass of the financial industry and how we've been on the decline for years.... well, that doesn't seem to have hurt the senior executives of the financial services companies. In fact, despite years of decline, their compensation has only increased -- by HUGE amounts, far outstripping the earning of all other groups.

How do you explain that??

Oct. 05 2011 10:38 AM
Johny from nyc

the 10% pay 80% of the taxes because they have all the assets. Your caller needs to stop twisting his stats

Oct. 05 2011 10:38 AM

Perhaps Marc from Brooklyn is a frustrated old man.

Oct. 05 2011 10:38 AM
abby from Queens

OWS - we are 99 ruled by the 1.

This is the truth, thats why this protest is going on for weeks

Oct. 05 2011 10:36 AM

oh yea, there it is:

"End Jewish occupation of Palestine" piggybacking the protest --
(exploiting Michael Moore's address)

Oct. 05 2011 10:34 AM
Fuva from Harlemworld

In spewing their redundant, tired talking points, the highly-paid public employees (with EXCELLENT benefits) from the previous segment highlighted the need for focused, informed economic discourse amongst the masses.
Does regulation necessarily and unreasonably inhibit economic growth? If so, what kinds? Do taxes do the same thing, ipso facto? Will perpetuating the low-tax, low-regulation approach -- that was the context for the failures of the the financial industry, the BP Oil spill, the mass exodus of jobs overseas, etc. --really create jobs? If so, what kinds? And will such jobs effectively address the massive and growing income inequality that is the foundation for all of this mess? Is income inequality really a fundamental issue here?...
Concise yet comprehensive handouts, reliably exploring these questions, need to be distributed at Occupy Wall Street and all such gatherings...Action, "national discussion" must be informed...I'm down to help with any such efforts...

Oct. 05 2011 10:34 AM
John from NYC

One of the demands of the demonstrators is the forgiveness of ALL debt. Half of my pension is in bonds. Now I will lose half of my pension ????????????

Oct. 05 2011 10:34 AM
Marc from Brooklyn

Perhaps Chuzzlewit is a frustrated old man, but I bet that he's old enough to remember New York City's default in 1975, and the riots that wiped out Bushwick during the 1977 Blackout -- and they both directly resulted from decades of fuzzy feel-good policies. Private sector employment dried up, the tax base withered, and this City came within an ace of dieing.

We know where the UFT stands on the issue. Why anyone would share their view is beyond comprehension.

Oct. 05 2011 10:34 AM

Gee, Brian...

Welcome aboard...


Oct. 05 2011 10:32 AM
MC Hammer from Brooklyn

Wall street hates to have the spotlight on it self.

You go OWS!!!!!!

Oct. 05 2011 10:31 AM

Oct. 05 2011 10:31 AM


Oct. 05 2011 10:29 AM
John A.

Way too negative. Kids will just ignore you as a grouch/frump/curmudgeon and move on. I would agree the the WhiteHouse has to watch for the label 'leading from behind' yet again.
The good news may be that you've gotten me to look at Charles Dickens.

Oct. 05 2011 10:20 AM
Jim from Manhattan

Not being reported:

Citibank is now going to charge $20.00 a month to customers with a minimum balance less than $15,000.00. It's true and not being reported....This is much worse than Bank of America!

Please include this in your discussions about the protests on Wall Street.

Oct. 05 2011 10:14 AM
Marc from Brooklyn

Ahh, the UFT and SEIU: the two biggest sponsors of deadbeats going. I mean, how much should a union spend to keep a NAMBLA member in the classroom?

Is one notch short of the Supreme Court enough?

So it's only natural that UFT and SEIU members aren't working today. Why should today be any different?

Oct. 05 2011 10:08 AM
Marc from Brooklyn

Ahh, the UFT and SEIU: the two biggest sponsors of deadbeats going. I mean, how much should a union spend to keep a NAMBLA member in the classroom?

Is one notch short of the Supreme Court enough?

So it's only natural that UFT and SEIU members aren't working today. Why should today be any different?

Oct. 05 2011 10:07 AM

Speaking of lack of leadership:

Oct. 05 2011 10:07 AM
Mark Rehnstrom from Astoria, Queens

I support many of the goals of "Occupy Wall Street", but my question is: As a freelance classical musician, am I biting the hand that feeds me by criticizing the rich and their tax breaks that are funding the organizations I work for?

Oct. 05 2011 10:01 AM


What would you prefer be done? Are you ojbecting to 32BJ and SEIU specifically or to unions or labor generally?

Oct. 05 2011 09:51 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Great......overage, aimless adolescent slackers now joined by 32BJ SEIU extortionists being given the day off....Dumb and Dumber.

Wall Street is in serious decline, New York is losing its position as financial center of the world, and our industrial base is hollowing out as almost nothing is made in this country anymore. (Look at the label on anything within arm's or eye's reach.)

Watch this pathetic anachronism, about 50 years too late, as they dance over the evil monster that is already a corpse.

Why now? Because David Axelrod has tricked you all into joining this "distract the masses" charade in the hope that the current lack of leadership will be ignored. These “protests” will evaporate on November 7, 2012. Shame on NPR/WNYC for treating them as legitimate entities.

Oct. 05 2011 09:43 AM

Curious as to how many groups (unions presumably don't fit in this category) are gaming the wall street protests to get their arguably/blatantly unrelated agendas associated with other causes that are popular with good hearted, smart but often young and naive protestors.

the madison square park anti-bush marches 2002-04 were unashamedly exploited especially by well funded so called anti zionists, for example.

Oct. 05 2011 09:42 AM

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