The police brass changed their minds – or Bloomberg changed their orders, I’m not sure which – because an army of union people began descending on the site, shortly before the planned 7 a.m. rout last Wednesday.
It wasn’t a matter of simply how embarrassed the mayor would be if his brass suddenly gave out the order to pepper spray the union folks and haul ‘em off to the slammer. Nor was it the sense I have that most of the cops are in some sympathy with the mob. You can exclude from that remark the white shirted brass. But the average Joe and Jill in blue seem a bit uncomfortable about what they're doing. But that's only part of it.
Had the unions taken umbrage at seeing their people busted, the Transit Workers might have gone out, bringing the city's subways to a full stop. The Teamsters, who were most certainly there, might have simply moved their trucks into the center lanes of every street in the city and created a traffic snarl of historic proportions. The city workers might have brought municipal government to a standstill. The one percent who have all the money are greedy. But they’re not suicidal. At least, not deliberately.
There were blue collar guys converging on Zuccotti Park who during Viet Nam sided with Lyndon Johnson and then Richard Nixon against the war protestors. In 1968 it wasn’t safe for a war protestor go march past a skyscraper construction site. A hammer or a brick or a bolt might have fallen on your head. Today, these union guys are so fed up with the intransigence of the Republicans and an occasional conservative-in-Democrat’s-clothing that they’re also helping to occupy Wall Street.
This morning, the doctors showed up. NY1, the local TV news outlet in New York, let a medical doctor explain on camera why the demonstrating doctors are so sick of the anti-“Obamacare” stance in Congress. Repeal of Obamacare, if it succeeds, will leave hundreds of thousands of kids (and yes, fetuses whom the Republicans claim so dearly to love) uncovered by ordinary medical care designed to keep them healthy and alive. So much for pro-life Republicans.
Here’s a partial list of the unions that have supported Occupy Wall Street as of Sunday Morning. The full list was printed on the back of the poster you see above. If working guys and women, from hard-hat steel workers and truckers to highly educated nurses, can show up, isn’t it time you showed up, too?
• AFSCME District Council 37
• Teachers’ Federation of Puerto Rico
• International Brotherhood of Teamsters
• Laborers’ International Union of America
• National Nurses United
• NY Metro Area American Postal Workers Union
• Professional Staff Congress (PSC-CUNY)
• Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU)
• Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 1199, Local 32BJ
• Transport Workers Union of America
• Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100
• Teamsters Locals 111, 560,701, 814
• United Auto Workers
• United Auto Workers (UAW), Region 9A
• United Tederation of College Teachers – Pratt Institute
• United Federation of Teachers (UFT)
• United Steel Workers (USW)