MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Labor unions joined the front lines Saturday in what Occupy Minnesota has termed “the fight against corporate greed.”
Union members marched by the hundreds as part of an international day of action against Wall Street and banks. Saturday’s protest was one of the largest Minnesota has seen in the last month.
Public workers, state employees, students and the many other faces that make up Occupy Minnesota have made their message clear in the past weeks with several catchy chants.Their Chants tell their story and list their demands: They want a more balanced distribution of income and a return back to the basics of democracy.
Saturday’s protest spotlighted this chant: “Banks got bailed out. We got sold out!”
At the center of the march, a group carried two coffins that symbolized the death of middle class America. The protesters dropped the coffins off at two downtown bank locations: the U.S. Bank building and a Wells Fargo branch.
At People’s Plaza, several of Minnesota’s labor leaders took to the microphone as part of Saturday’s anniversary of Black Tuesday – the day the stock market first plummeted on October 29, 1929, beginning what would be the Great Depression.
Eliot Seide represents a union made up of 40,000 Minnesota public sector workers.
“People are just fed up with bailing out the folks who need the help the least, and not helping the folks who need the help the most.” Seide said.
Also joining the fight to support Main Street America was the Minnesota Nurses Association.
“We believe we stand in solidarity with the patients we care for to make sure they’re taken care of,” said Bernadine Engeldorf, the vice president of the Minnesota Nurses Association.
The nurses said they see firsthand the impact of economic crisis on their patients’ mental health.
“We see an increase in depression being admitted to our hospital over that economic crisis,” Engeldorf said.
Protesters said they believe change begins with lower compensation for bankers, less profits for banks, and bailouts for students with loans and home owners with mortgages.
The protesters said the movement that will change disparity in America forever must start now.