Laborers Wield Investment Clout on Behalf of Occupy Wall Street
Sometimes, it seems you have a shot at besting your opponents at their own game. It’s hard not to see a bit of poetic justice in the latest gesture of support for Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protesters by the Laborers (LIUNA)—one that involves a pension fund’s Wall Street investments.
Zuccotti Park, the corporate-owned land in lower Manhattan where OWS has set up camp, is owned by Brookfield Properties. Among Brookfield’s long-term investors is the Massachusetts Laborers’ Pension Fund—as in the fund that covers Massachusetts LIUNA members. So Barry McAnarney, the fund’s executive director, has made it plain in a letter to Brookfield executives that his members support the protesters’ continued presence at the park. According to a statement issued by LIUNA:
“Our pension fund investments represent the hard-earned retirement security of thousands of men and women who have dedicated their lives to building our country,” said Barry McAnarney, the fund’s executive director, in a letter to Brookfield executives. “Many of our members suffered as a result of the reckless financial dealings of major firms on Wall Street. The protesters at Zuccotti Park are courageously standing up against these wrongdoings and in support of working-class people. To silence the voice of Occupy Wall Street would be an assault on each of our members and all they have worked to achieve.”
Last Friday, Brookfield moved to evict the protesters from Zuccotti Park to allow for cleaning and trash removal, according to Brookfield executives—even though they have refused to permit protesters to arrange for dumpsters or portable toilets in the park. When protesters massed at the park to resist the eviction, which was to have been carried out by the New York City Police Department, Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway announced that Brookfield had relented, and postponed the eviction, which still looms as a possibility. (You can sign an appeal to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg here, demanding that the park remain open to the protesters.)
LIUNA President Terry O’Sullivan said the union’s half-million members are “united behind the fight against corporate tyranny and for economic prosperity for all.”
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.