STEELWORKERS ENDORS ‘OCCUPY WALL STREET’ AS PROTEST SPREAD

Steelworkers have endorsed the Occupy Wall Street protests that are expanding across the US as anger builds at financial wheeler-dealers’ role in the global economic crisis.

USW “stands in solidarity with and strongly supports Occupy Wall Street,” says international president Leo Gerard.  “These brave men and women – many of them young people without jobs – have been demonstrating around-the-clock for over two weeks in New York.  Theyr’e speaking out for the many who are sick of the corporate greed, corruption and arrogance that have inflicted pain on our world for far too long.”

A movement that has no single message, no leader and no list of demands, Occupy Wall Street is nonetheless gaining steam across the US. The protests are entering their third week in New York, with participants ranging from students worried about student loans to unionized workers and unemployed middle-aged workers.

“Our union has been standing up and fighting these captains of finance who promote Wall Street over Main Street,” said Gerard. “We know firsthand the devastation caused by a global economy where workers, their families, the environment and our futures are sacrificed so that a privileged few can make more money on everyone’s labor but their own.”

In Manhattan protesters are camping out in a park near the New York Stock Exchange where on Monday, hundreds of protesters dressed up as money-hungry zombies.  Rosie Gray, a reporter with New York’s Village Voice told CTV News this week that the movement, which has sparked demonstrations in Boston, St. Louis, Kansas City and Los Angeles, has struck a chord.  The lack of a central message allows the group to include to anyone with a beef against corporations or government inaction.

“Basically they’re protesting the greed and corruption of our financial system and they’re right to be frustrated ….,,” Gray told CTV’s Canada AM.  “The lack of message is not necessarily a bad thing because it allows them to connect with a lot of different groups. Basically they’re just tapping into this anger at American society right now.”

Gerard said that the Occupy Wall Street movement “represents what most Americans believe: Enough is enough! It’s time to hold those who caused our economic crisis accountable.”

Meanwhile, European finance ministers agreed Tuesday to act to safeguard their banks as doubts grew about a planned second bailout package for debt-laden Greece.  French-Belgian bank Dexia became the first European bank bailed out due to the eurozone’s sovereign debt-crisis.  ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet warned in his final testimony to the European Parliament before retiring that the crisis is far from over and governments must address it.