Published: 25/11/2011

“They can take away the tarps and the tents. But they can’t slow down the Occupy Wall Street movement!”, said AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka after the first police raids on the protestors’ camp. The union has called on workers, union and non-union, to respect the Occupy encampments as they would a picket line.

A few weeks ago, Occupy Wall Street protesters decided to march from New York to the White House in Washington DC. The Occupy DC action aims to shut down part of the city to protest lawmakers’ failure to ease the tax burden on the “99 percent.”

As the marchers apporoached Washington, the AFL-CIO regional organization for Maryland state and DC at its convention on November 19, approved a resolution calling on its members to treat all Occupy encampments in the city as they would a formal picket line.

The convention declared that the AFL-CIO will support any “unionized or non-unionized worker who refuses to break up, raid or confiscate the belongings of protesters.” Its resolution calls “on unions representing public workers and public safety workers to not participate in such activity as to deny the rights of occupiers… We recognize and will work to protect the right for occupiers to protest 24 hours a day, on-site, with proper protection, including food, medical supplies, water and tents.”

US unions have been supporting the protests in cities across the country, joining in actions and protests, bringing their own demands to the movement and providing protestors with food, blankets and access to showers. The new AFL-CIO resolution will certainly make it more difficult to break up the movement.