Thousands of labor union workers have joined in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, the activist group of several hundred people that has camped out in New York City’s financial district to protest Wall Street and economic inequality. The crowd, which was estimated in the thousands, stormed downtown Manhattan Wednesday in what could be Occupy Wall Street’s largest rally yet.
"It's an epic march," said John Samuelson, president of the Transport Workers Union Local 100, to New York Daily News. Samuelson rallied his 35,000 bus and subway workers, urging them to march Wednesday. "It's organized labor coming together to say that working families have had enough of [dealing with] the unfair burden of the economic problems."
Protesters gathered at Foley Square before marching to Zuccotti Park, which has served as Occupy Wall Street’s unofficial headquarters. Some carried red, white and blue signs bearing a giant star-graced A, which represents the motto "Rebuild America”, while other signs bore slogans including Tax Wall Street and Make Jobs, Not Cuts. Roxanne Pauline, a coordinator for the Northeastern Pennsylvania Area Labor Federation, told Associated Press some of her union's members plan to stay in Zuccotti Park over the weekend.
"They'll teach the younger people what unions are — that they're not thugs or mobsters, but working people," she said.
The newly formed People of Color Working Group recently threw its support behind the cause, urging African-Americans and other minorities to see it as an opportunity to bring international awareness to problems in the community and the nation at large. Students from several colleges walked out of classes in solidarity on Wednesday.
Occupy Wall Street, whose efforts have captivated the nation, has been camped out near Wall Street since Sept. 17. It started with a few dozen demonstrators but quickly swelled in numbers. The group has become increasingly more organized, lining up medical aid and legal help for those involved in recent police clashes and has even printed a newspaper. The group claims to represent the 99 percent of Americans who have suffered at the cost of Wall Street's ill decisions.
(Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
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