Apparently seeking to capitalize on a political movement that shares its general political vision, Big Labor has stepped up its material support for the “Occupy” protesters.
Scribe noted this week that the AFL-CIO union had taken out advertisements supporting the protests. According to a report from the Washington Post, though, their support extends far beyond paid advertising.
Labor groups are mobilizing to provide office space, meeting rooms, photocopying services, legal help, food and other necessities to the protesters. The support is lending some institutional heft to a movement that has prided itself on its freewheeling, non-institutional character.
And in return, Occupy activists are pitching in to help unions ratchet up action against several New York firms involved in labor disputes with workers.
It’s a win-win for the two groups. The protesters can leverage unions’ resources and immense political muscle, while unions can recruit shock troops for campaigns against businesses both in New York and elsewhere.
In one case, Occupy activists have helped union workers disrupt the rarified environs of Sotheby’s art auction house, which is engaged in a contract dispute with about 40 of its art handlers.
A joint demonstration of Occupy activists and telephone workers is planned for Friday to target Verizon, and Occupy organizers say more unions are reaching out to a newly formed labor relations committee to ask for help in planning future actions…
“We’re hoping this will inspire them to take on more militant tactics,” said Jackie DiSalvo, an Occupy Wall Street organizer who has been coordinating with labor. “The fact that they’re willing to support more militant tactics might mean that they’re willing to start doing more.”