Friday, October 14, 2011

Union Workers to Join Occupy St. Louis for Major Demonstration Today

Posted By on Fri, Oct 14, 2011 at 11:38 AM

click to enlarge Today's march promises to be several times larger than Occupy STL's first demonstration (above) on October 1. - PHOTO: BRIAN VILLA
  • Photo: Brian Villa
  • Today's march promises to be several times larger than Occupy STL's first demonstration (above) on October 1.
Several hundred -- perhaps as many as a thousand -- union workers are expected to join members of the Occupy St. Louis movement this afternoon for a massive march through downtown.

Demonstrators will depart from Kiener Plaza at 3:30 and walk to the Bank of America buildings, where they'll protest what they see as the financial institution's unethical lending practices.

"You could apply similar complaints to any of the big Wall Street banks," says Cathy Sherwin, an organizer of today's rally and a communications director for the AFL-CIO. "At a time when joblessness is at a high and people are losing their homes or finding their mortgages underwater, banks are sitting on their reserves and not lending a hand. Here in St. Louis, Bank of America has shown particularly appalling behavior, acting as a sort of foreclosure factory."

From the BofA buildings, the demonstration will move to the Arch grounds where speakers will call on the government to invest more in infrastructure improvements that could generate jobs -- especially for skilled workers who've been left unemployed in the recession.

Sherwin tells Daily RFT that members of every union in St. Louis are expected to be on hand today, including representatives from the UAW, SEIU and AFL-CIO. In the Occupy movement -- which calls on politicians to stop catering to the mega-rich and start paying more attention to the rest of the population (a.k.a. "the 99 percent") -- organized labor has found a group that shares its vision.

"As a labor movement, we're not going to tell someone how to express themselves," says Sherwin. "But what our members have found in talking to the Occupy protesters is that we have a lot of common goals. Today's march is an opportunity to come together as a broad section of people and make those goals heard."

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