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CWA & RWDSU Labor Leaders Condemn The Sweep Of Occupy Wall Street Protestors In New York’s Zuccotti Park, Publicly Call Eviction Both “Cowardly And Irresponsible”

More Than 200 Arrested At The Epicenter Of The Growing Occupy Wall Street Movement By New York City Police, Including Dozens Who Tried To Resist By Chaining Themselves Together – Court Order Would Allow Protestors To Return To Their Tents

Published Tuesday, November 15, 2011 3:00 pm
by Labor Wire Services & Staff

(NEW YORK) - Communications Workers of America (CWA) District 1 Vice President Chris Shelton strongly condemned today’s decision by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to forcibly remove Occupy Wall Street Protesters from Zuccotti Park.  Meanwhile, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) President Stuart Appelbaum is calling the action an “illegal eviction” that was both “cowardly and irresponsible.”

Early this morning (Tuesday, November 15th), Mayor Bloomberg gave the order for New York City Police to descend upon Zuccotti Park – considered to be the epicenter in the growing Occupy Wall Street Movement - in a surprise sweep.  Published reports say more than 200 Protestors have been arrested after many of them tried to resist in the middle of the park by chaining themselves together with bicycle locks or by locking arms.

Later in the morning, protesters were locked in a standoff with police over a court order that would allow them to return with their tents.  However, Mayor Bloomberg ordered the park closed while lawyers reviewed the order, saying it “had become a health and fire safety hazard” and that it had “unfortunately become a place not to protest, but to break the law."

After being evicted, one major news service reported that several hundred demonstrators regrouped in nearby Foley Square to discuss their next move, setting up a new Twitter account.

CWA District 1 Vice-President Chris Shelton issued the following statement shortly after the mayor ordered the eviction of Occupy Wall Street Protestors:

The Communications Workers of America strongly condemns the decision by Mayor Bloomberg to forcibly remove protesters from Zuccotti Park.  In two short months, Occupy Wall Street has focused the world's attention on the deep frustration felt by Working People about an economy that no longer works for the Middle Class.  The 99% have seen good jobs disappear while the rich get richer and the big banks make billions with impunity.  Mayor Bloomberg may have cleared the park for now, but Occupy Wall Street's message cannot be silenced.  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 17th.  Verizon Workers who have been walking for over a week from Albany - over 150 miles in total - will arrive at Verizon Headquarters at 140 West Street in New York City on Thursday at 4 p.m. to join hundreds of their co-Workers in a March to Foley Square.  Their message is the same message we are hearing from Occupy Wall Street and beyond: The 99% are standing up against corporate greed and against a government that more and more puts the interests of the 1% ahead of the Middle Class.

Meanwhile, RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum released the following statement:

The illegal eviction of protestors from Zuccotti Park was cowardly and irresponsible.  City Hall knows it was an indefensible act - that’s why it was carried out in the middle of the night and reporters were kept at arms length and prevented from covering the full story.  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.  He needs to recognize that the Occupy movement is not about geography or a specific location.  It’s about calling attention to unacceptable forms of economic inequality and injustice in this city, around the country and throughout the world.  It’s about allowing long-ignored voices to speak out.  He has grown more defiant and tone-deaf to the concerns of the 99% in recent days precisely because he is governing the city as an all-too-proud spokesman for the 1%.  He has yet to learn a simple lesson: how to listen.


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