Teamsters Cheer (Non-Working) Occupy Protesters for Bringing 'New Energy' to Labor's Fight

November 16, 2011 - 11:40 AM

Occupy

William Scott, 42, of Pittsburgh, sits beside a fledgling "People's Library" of newly donated books in Zuccotti Park on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011, the day after Occupy Wall Street protestors were evicted so the park could be cleaned. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

(CNSNews.com) - The International Brotherhood of Teamsters -- which says it represents more than 1.4 million "hardworking" men and women -- has officially thrown its support behind a bunch of people, many of whom who sit around all day and don't work at all.

The Teamsters' 24-member executive board on Tuesday unanimously passed a resolution "supporting the right of protesters at Occupy Wall Street to assemble at Liberty Park," also known as Zuccotti Park.

The resolution followed the eviction of protesters from the small park in lower Manhattan so sanitation workers could remove accumulated debris, which city officials called a health hazard.

"You can draw a direct line from the Wisconsin protests in the winter to Occupy Wall Street to the overwhelming rejection of an anti-union ballot question in Ohio," said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. "Occupy Wall Street is bringing new energy to a fight that labor has been engaged in from the beginning: The fight for an economy that works for everybody, not just the 1 percent."

The Teamsters' resolution says in part: "Just as 'Occupy Wall Street' demands that the nation respond to the unrelenting pressure on the middle class, on workers and on the unemployed, the Teamsters have exposed the 'War on Workers' being waged by billionaires and CEOs who seek to blame working people for the state of the economy and to 'fix' the economy by giving to the rich and taking from the middle class."

The resolution continues: "The International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the working men and women it represents wholly supports and endorses Occupy Wall Street and opposes any effort to unreasonably restrict, contain or stop this lawful protest."

It also "commends and extends its appreciation to New York Supreme Court Judge Lucy Billings for issuing a restraining order that restores the Constitutional rights of 'Occupy Wall Street' to peacefully protest.”

(Another judge ruled Tuesday afternoon that the protesters’ free speech rights did not extend to pitching a tent and camping out in the park for weeks at a time.)

Hoffa noted that rank-and-file Teamsters have participated in Occupy Wall Street actions throughout the country -- and he says Teamsters members have "protected" encampments, fed protesters and led rallies in various cities.

The Teamsters executive board passed the resolution at an already-scheduled meeting at union headquarters in Washington.

The Associated Press reported that by early Tuesday evening, some protesters were being allowed back into Zuccotti Park, but they were not allowed to bring tents or sleeping bags.

One protest organizer indicated the next step will be to find “different areas of occupation throughout the city.”

Meanwhile, a day of civil disobedience and marches is planned for Thursday.