Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Occupy Wall Street

The Tea Party movement, the Arab Spring, the Wisconsin state capital, Occupy Wall Street, they all have something in common.  They are all populist movements.  In all of them the common man and woman is speaking out, no shouting out, I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!
The worldwide economic downturn has magnified a problem that has long been there.  It's like autumn leaves, that when stressed by cooler nights and shorter days, lose the chlorophyll that makes them green and allows the underlying colors that have been there all summer long to show through.
There is a wide gap between the haves and the have nots. The 1% and the 99%.
This spring the people of northern Africa and the Middle East said ENOUGH! 
The people of Wisconsin and Ohio said ENOUGH!
Even the nurses of Backus Hospital said ENOUGH! 
Enough to the CEOs getting 28% salary increases while we had pay and benefits slashed, our LPNs dismissed,  and our patients diverted to other hospitals, held over 24 hours in the ED and PACU due to poor staffing, and their peanut butter taken away.
AFL-CIO president Rich Trumka states it this way: 
"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. 
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."

AFT president Randi Weingarten said:
"All over this country, there are young people who have done everything that was asked of them—they went to school, worked hard and prepared to meet their responsibilities as they pursue their dreams.
We need to listen to what the individuals camped out in Liberty Plaza for Occupy Wall Street—and those marching in the streets from Boston to Denver to Los Angeles—have to say. And then we need to get serious as a nation about working together to create economic opportunities for all Americans, including young people, so we can get our country back on the right track."

I stand with the Occupy Wall St movement.  It has a vitality that the working man and women have been waiting for.  The movement has been said to be lacking leadership, I disagree.  It is a new form of leadership, a leadership that says I'm here in the trenches with you brother and sister.  Movements like we see in Wisconsin, Ohio, Norwich, New York, and across our country have shown what is possible when working men and women come together and say ENOUGH!
In the halls of Backus  and in the streets of New York we strive for the same goals, a voice for the 99% of Americans who work hard each day to make this country great.

Be proud of what you have accomplished so far, you are the Backus Federation of Nurses!
You stand up together, proudly advocating for yourself, your patients, your families, and your community.  And you are not alone, you are part of the 99%.

I urge you to use the voice you now have.  Get involved in your union.  Come to meetings whenever you can. Talk to the leadership and liaisons about your concerns.  Register and vote in the upcoming elections, I guarantee you, the 1% will.

This movement has been called a democratic awakening. 
Let's not watch it, let's live it!

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