Council Progressives, Labor, Cry Foul Over Occupy Evictions

 Council Progressives, Labor, Cry Foul Over Occupy Evictions

City Council member Jumaane Williams

The City Council’s progressive wing and their labor allies threw their support behind the Occupy Wall Street protesters, backing “the day of action” the movement has planned for Thursday.

“It is shameful to use the cover of darkness to trample on civil liberties without fear of media scrutiny or a public response,” the City Council’s Progressive Caucus said in a statement. “In the aftermath of the eviction, we reiterate our support and look toward the future. We know that the fight is far from over, and that last night’s events will only fuel the fire for change.”

Signatories include some of the earliest New York politicians to march with–not just express support for—Occupy Wall Street, including Jumaane Williams of Flatbush, who stood with the protesters during the raid last night. Unlike colleague Ydanis Rodriguez, however, he managed to escape arrest.

The council members will be marching to “hold the banks accountable and call for a fairer economy” this Thursday, Nov. 17, when OWS will mark its two-month anniversary by attempting to shut down the NYSE, “occupying the subway,” and having a “musical” march from Foley Square accompanied by a gospel choir and marching band. The other signatories were Gale Brewer, Daniel Dromm, Letitia James, Brad Lander, Steve Levin, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Rosie Mendez, Annabel Palma, James Sanders, and Jimmy Van Bramer.

Also weighing in are the Communications Workers of America (CWA), who have used the Occupy movement as a springboard to publicize their dispute with Verizon over cuts to their benefits package. A dozen CWA workers have been marching from Albany since last week, and plan to join the march by Thursday afternoon after protesting outside Verizon headquarters on West Street.

“Mayor Bloomberg may have cleared the park for now, but Occupy Wall Street’s message cannot be silenced,” CWA District 1 vice president Chris Shelton said in a statement. “No one can evict an idea whose time has come. Now more than ever, CWA members will join the massive day of action on Thursday, November 17.”

The mayor took further flak from workers from the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, whose members have been particularly active in the Occupy protests against a propsed Walmart in East New York.

“Mayor Bloomberg should apologize to the media and to the protestors whose constitutional rights were trampled on by his militaristic misadventure. He has escalated tensions unnecessarily and shown an alarming lack of judgment and leadership,” RWDSU president Stuart Appelbaum said in a statement. “He has yet to learn a simple lesson: how to listen.”