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Unions and Occupy Wall Street call general strike for May 1

STEPHON JOHNSON Amsterdam News Staff | 4/5/2012, 3:24 p.m.
Unions and Occupy Wall Street call general strike for May 1

Organizers from the Occupy Wall Street movement are calling for a general strike against all things corporate on May 1. In New York City, activities are scheduled for 4 p.m. in Union Square.

With some referring to it as "a day without the 99 percent," organizers are asking labor unions and other activists to protest work, major businesses and anything else that would benefit the so-called 1 percent. Organizers said as much in a statement on the "Occupy May 1" website.

"Worldwide, May 1 is traditionally a workers' day--a day of labor solidarity--and a public holiday," read the statement. "It's a day to celebrate and march in support of immigrants' rights. In protest against the corruption of worldwide marketplace, which has led to illegal foreclosures, mass unemployment, low wages, high taxes and a penalization of all those who do not own the '99 percent' of the world's resources, and in solidarity with the immigrant movements of May 1, we have decided to declare May 1 a people's general strike.

"Instead of calling upon unionized labor to make a specific demand--illegal under Taft-Hartley--we are calling upon the people of the world to take this day away from school and the workplace, so that their absence makes their displeasure with this corrupt system known," ended the statement.

But it looks like organizers might encounter some difficulties. While the AmNews couldn't make direct contact with movement leaders, it was reported that as late as March, the Occupy Wall Street account was as low as $45,000 from a high of $500,000 in November. According to a report by New York magazine, weekly donations had dropped to about $1,600 a week by late March.

And the Occupy movement is also having a hard time getting labor on board for May 1. Buzzfeed reported that RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum said, "It won't happen. They are not working with the unions in a serious way yet, nor are the unions working with them in a serious way. And it's the wrong strategy."

CWA Local 1180 President Arthur Cheliotes said, "I think the concept is a great one, but the reality is tough."

Organizers have a full month to make it less tough.