Labor Plans March on Wall Street

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AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka says more than 10,000 union supporters will “march on Wall Street” on April 29 in support of a financial-transactions tax, and higher taxes on private-equity and hedge funds.

The march coincides with Senate action on financial regulatory reform, an Obama administration priority for the spring. Workers will flood subways and buses will clog downtown, with union “marshals” to prevent “counterproductive” antics.

“People will be talking, yelling, chanting, and letting America — and letting Wall Street, particularly — know that their brand of economics, where the financial economy overshadows the real economy, is no longer acceptable, that we want them to help pay for the jobs that they destroyed,” Trumka, who was a third-generation coal miner before going into labor leadership, said in a video interview.

“There'll be a lot of people and a lot of energy, and it will be a lot of fun. … We'll be right on Wall Street.”

Kathryn S. Wylde, president and CEO of the Partnership for New York City, a network of 200 top CEOs founded by David Rockefeller, called the plan “unfortunate.”

“This is a time when Americans should be pulling together,” Wylde said. “A big piece of what we need to be a world economic power is a strong financial center. Demonizing Wall Street diminishes us in the eyes of the world.”

Trumka predicted that the financial-services industry will “try to ignore” the event.

“As the voice gets louder from more and more Americans, from a broader swath of America, it's tougher and tougher for them … to act like they can go back to business as usual,” he said. “I think that's what's angered the American public the most: They destroy all these jobs, they bring us to the brink of financial disaster, they get bailed out, they don't lend money to people that could create jobs, and yet they go back to business as usual.”

A flier being distributed by unions in New York said the march will be from 3 to 6 p.m.

“Rally and March WITH AFL-CIO PRESIDENT RICHARD TRUMKA — NEW YORK CITY—FINANCIAL DISTRICT,” the flier says. “Wall Street tanked America’s economy … We’re 11 million jobs in the hole and it’s time for Wall Street to pay up to create them. Join AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and thousands of union and community activists from across the country in the heart of the financial district on April 29 to MAKE WALL STREET PAY.”

The 2.2-million-member Service Employees International Union announced that a “broad coalition of workers, clergy, veterans, and community groups” will try to disrupt bank shareholder meetings this month.

“Wells Fargo Shareholder Meeting … More than 1,000 clergy, workers, community allies to stage procession through downtown San Francisco to Wells Fargo shareholder meeting. The group will stage a rally outside the meeting and send a delegation inside … April 27,” the announcement says.

Bank of America Shareholder Meeting … Hundreds of veterans, clergy, working families to march on Bank of America shareholder meeting. The group will stage a rally outside the meeting and send a delegation inside. … Bank of America Headquarters … Charlotte, NC … April 28.”

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