In the latest sign of solidarity between labor and the Occupy Wall Street movement, the AFL-CIO has issued a statement from its Next Up Young Worker Summit in support of the Manhattan protesters. Eight hundred young workers and student activists approved the statement on the final day of their gathering in Minneapolis. It notes that “The top 1 percent controls the economy, makes profits at the expense of working people, and dominates the political debate. Wall Street symbolizes this simple truth: a small group of people have the lives and livelihoods of working Americans in their hands.”
Mary Clinton, an Occupy Wall Street activist and Next Up participant who proposed the resolution, says it passed “overwhelmingly.” “It’s important for labor to reach out beyond servicing its own members…” she adds, “and recognize that a lot of the gains and victories of the labor movement are gains that were won as part of a broader social movement.” Clinton is a labor studies graduate student at the City University of New York.
The Next Up statement also says:
“In the last two weeks, young people have sparked a movement on Wall Street, just as they did through the Arab Spring and in Wisconsin against Scott Walker…more than 800 Next Up participants from around the country stand with those on Wall Street who are making their voices heard. The future of our country depend on young people demanding the future we believe in. And we believe that Wall Street should pay for the damage they’ve done to our economy, our jobs, and our communities – foreclosing on homes, making massive profits with no oversight, and not sharing in building a future for the next generation.
“We stand together in calling for a country that doesn’t just work for the top 1 percent. We stand together to call for a sustainable future that doesn’t begin with massive tax breaks for the wealthy and end with austerity measures and a jobs crisis.”
Over the past week, several New York union locals have announced their participation in a march from City Hall this Wednesday to meet the Wall Street occupation. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka called the protests “a valid tactic” adding that “being in the streets and calling attention to issues is sometimes the only recourse you have…”
The General Assembly, the open-decision making body of Occupy Wall Street, issued its first official statement on Thursday, declaring that “a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power.” The General Assembly statement lists a series of grievances against corporations, including illegal foreclosures, domination of media and politics, and attacks on collective bargaining. Clinton faults New York unions for not working more closely with community groups to avert cuts in the recent budget fight. “We all need to be banding together,” she says, “and demanding that we’re not going to have cuts, we’re not going to have layoffs, and we’re not going to compromise.”