(The following is a statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on Occupy Wall Street on October 5, 2011)
Occupy Wall Street has captured the imagination and passion of millions of Americans who have lost hope that our nation’s policymakers are speaking for them. We support the protesters in their determination to hold Wall Street accountable and create good jobs. We are proud that today on Wall Street, bus drivers, painters, nurses and utility workers are joining students and homeowners, the unemployed and the underemployed to call for fundamental change. Across America, working people are turning out with their friends and neighbors in parks, congregations and union halls to express their frustration – and anger — about our country’s staggering wealth gap, the lack of work for people who want to work and the corrupting of our politics by business and financial elites. The people who do the work to keep our great country running are being robbed not only of income, but of a voice. It is time for all of us—the 99 percent—to be heard.
As we did when we marched on Wall Street last year, working people call on corporations, big banks, and the financial industry to do their part to create good jobs, stop foreclosures and pay their fair share of taxes.
- Wall Street and corporate America must invest in America: Big corporations should invest some of the $2 trillion in cash they have on hand, and use it to create good jobs. And the banks themselves should be making credit more accessible to small businesses, instead of parking almost $1 trillion at the Federal Reserve.
- Stop foreclosures: Banks should write down the 14 million mortgages that are underwater and stop the more than 10 million pending foreclosures to stop the downward spiral of our housing markets and inject more than $70 billion into our economy.
- Fund education and jobs by taxing financial speculation: A tiny tax on financial transactions could raise hundreds of billions in revenue that could fund education and create jobs rebuilding our country. And it would discourage speculation and encourage long term investment.
We will open our union halls and community centers as well as our arms and our hearts to those with the courage to stand up and demand a better America.