Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bloombergville Begins: Union Members Camp Outside City Hall in Protest

About 100 New York City union members and supporters have "occupied"  a space around City Hall to protest budget cuts instituted by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.  Doug Singsen, City College professor and one of the founders of New Yorkers Against Budget Cuts, writes:

The first night of Bloombergville was great! After it stopped raining (and the cops started harassing us), we moved across the street and set up camp on Centre Street east of City Hall. There are around 100 of us here, the weather is perfect and it's been an exciting, inspiring night.
But we're not done! Some of us will be staying here during the day to maintain the encampment and we will be re-assembling in full force at 7 pm to have a speakout rally and another night of sleeping out and protesting the budget cuts. We need your help to make it even bigger and better! The Rude Mechanical Orchestra will be here and will provide some musical entertainment for us. Even if you can't sleep over, come down for the rally, tell your friends and help us build the struggle against budget cuts.
More background on the protests and occupation can be found here. 

Like other unions , District 37 members are facing massive layoffs and wage and benefit cuts under the austerity craze sweeping the nation.  Bloomberg's plans include firing 4100 city workers and closing a quarter of the city's fire houses. Protesters cite a union research report that claims the city could soften the blow by tapping more than $800 million in newly-identified potential revenue sources, including uncollected taxes.

New Yorkers Against Budget Cuts also point to the elimination of the state's so-called Millionaires' Tax on Wall Street as another main reason for the manufactured budget shortfall.  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, recently polled as being more popular with Republicans than among members of his own party.  Even Carl Palladino, his GOP opponent, has praised the governor as being a true friend to fiscal conservatives and the Tea Party.


Anonymous said...

From DreamsAmelia~

As ever, timely journalism that is actually (gasp) defending the PUBLIC interest! Thank you for this lovely post, which I have forwarded to the Hands Across Prospect Park group that is hoping to stop the wildlife services branch of APHIS (Animal Plant Health Inspection Service) that is hell-bent on exterminating all geese in New York, with or without scientific evidence. That's the kind of funding that needs cutting...but right now, geese, public officials, and the unemployed are all on the chopping block.

Hope this group sticks around till June 22 for a protest demanding fair taxation of Wall St....

VLT said...

When I read stories like these I realise just how important Wisconsin has been to the country and to democracy. I am sure many of those protesting today were inspired by those who made their voices known in Wisconsin. (Thanks Janet!) I really hope this movement in New York continues to pick up steam and we will see more and more people taking to the streets in future - refusing to accept the crumbs that fall from the rich man's table! The protesters are right - these government shortfalls are because we continue to give tax cuts to the ultra rich.

The only time I wish I had money is at times like this. I would love to fly out and join in.

4Runner said...

There's a good piece, "The Republican War on Unions", over at along with a 1-minute video of Wisconsin state workers demonstrating and singing on a YouTube video "We Shall Overcome". Solidarity Forever!!

Janet Camp said...

Why did you all let this guy rewrite the law and seek another term? Good Grief! He's an eccentric (in the worst way) bazillionaire republican. What were you thinking?