Has Local 21 supported the Occupy Wall Street movement?
Yes, the Executive Committee unanimously adopted and published a statement expressing broad support for the Occupy Wall Street movement (see accompanying article on “Why We Support the Occupy Wall Street Movement”.
Has Local 21 supported any specific encampment, like Occupy Oakland?
No, there has been no endorsement or formal participation in any particular encampment.
Has Local 21 spent dues money to support the Occupy movement?
At the request of the SF Labor Council, the union provided five tents to the Occupy SF Labor Solidarity Working Group. We also provided $1,000 to the Alameda Labor Council’s Solidarity Fund to help pay the costs of the labor barbecue at the November 2 Day of Action in Oakland. No other contributions have been made by the union.
Didn’t Local 21 encourage Oakland members to participate in the General Strike?
As part of the Alameda Labor Council, which represents most of the unions in Alameda County, Local 21 participated in the Labor Council’s actions on the November 2 Day of Action. Like the Labor Council, we did not support the call for a “General Strike” – doing so would have violated no strike clauses in many union contracts – and we did not support the shutdown of the Port of Oakland. The union encouraged members to participate in the Labor Council actions (a march on the banks in the afternoon and a barbecue in the evening) and provided information about how members could get approved leave time in order to participate.
What about the vandalism and violence? Is the union supporting this?
No, the Executive Committee resolution clearly states that the union supports peaceful and nonviolent actions.
Who made the decision to support the Occupy Wall Street movement?
The ultimate decision-making body of the local is the Delegate Assembly, which consists of elected delegates from every chapter. The Delegate Assembly meets only 3 times per year. In between Delegate Assemblies, the Executive Committee, comprised of the elected officers of the union, acts on behalf of the Delegate Assembly. In this capacity, as the elected leadership of the union, the Executive Committee drafted and adopted the resolution supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Why weren’t members consulted before the union took a position?
Following the process that is used for other political action items, the request for a resolution was initiated by one of our Oakland chapters and was then discussed and forwarded to the Executive Committee by the Oakland Council, which consists of the elected officers of all of the Oakland chapters.
The events of the Occupy Wall Street movement are moving very quickly. The Executive Committee felt that it was important to get out a general statement of support, particularly since the Occupy Wall Street movement speaks directly to the underlying causes of the fiscal crisis that has caused our employers to demand major concessions from our members.
How can members participate in this discussion?
There have been discussions of the Occupy Wall Street movement at several chapter meetings and we expect those discussions to continue. We are also providing an e-mail address where members can submit comments. We encourage a continuing discussion on this important issue.
Members may submit their comments to this email address:
Comments will be forwarded to the Local 21 Executive Committee.