NEW YORK - Responding to the draconian cuts proposed by Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg in this year’s state and city budget proposals, a coalition of labor, student and community organizations is panning a massive rally on March 24 at City Hall, culminating in a march to Wall Street.
The coalition includes AFSCME District Councils 37 and 1707 and other public sector unions, United Auto Workers Region 9A (covering the East Coast and Puerto Rico), the CUNY Mobilization Network, the Coalition for Public Education, and numerous community groups including the Freedom Party, the South Bronx Community Congress, and the Bail Out the People Movement.
Demands for the rally are:
Jobs, Not Layoffs!
Affordable Housing Now!
No Cuts to Social Services!
No Union-Busting or Privatization!
Extend the Millionaire’s Tax!
Close Corporate Tax Loopholes!
Bring Back the Stock Transfer Tax!
Stop the School Closings!
End Mayoral Control: Community Control of the Schools!
Larry Hales of the CUNY Mobilization Network said the March 24 action will start at City Hall and move to Wall Street "to highlight the source of the problem. The banks and Wall Street investors have looted the public treasury while giving nothing back," Hales commented. "All the budget cuts could be avoided simply by making the banks and investors pay their share of taxes. We are organizing to stop layoffs and budget cuts and to reclaim the public funds to use them for the workers, communities and students."
Brenda Stokely, former President of AFSCME District Council 1707 and a co-founder of the Million Worker March Movement, said "the public is being misled to believe that they should be against workers’ right to organize and bargain for just wages, benefits and work conditions." She added that "workers cannot allow ourselves to be scapegoated or divided by those who created this economic disaster."
A promotional video released by the coalition features Larry Hales together with Michelle Keller, a DC37 Executive Vice President, and other leaders at a February 24 City Hall rally that helped stimulate formation of the new coalition.
"In DC37, the support is building fast," Keller observed. Many of the 15 DC37 locals participated in a special training event last Saturday in which plans for March 24 were featured.