About 100 Occupy LA and SEIU members marched to the Los Angeles Times on Spring street and the Bank of America at 7th and Figueroa streets Tuesday, where they placed a symbolic tent and sleeping bag while demanding fair dealings for janitors and accountability by the bank.
“We stand together with you, in front of you, behind you - fighting the greed that has overcome America,” said Mike Garcia, SEIU president, to the alternately chanting and cheering crowd. “We will not stop.”
When Occupy LA learned the union workers embroiled in a two-year fight against janitorial layoffs at the Los Angeles Times had a planned action at the the newspaper’s headquarters the same day as Occupy’s impromptu action at the bank was scheduled, it was natural to join forces. Occupy LA members formed a cheering “Soul Train” line to welcome the janitors and SEIU organizers as they entered the grounds around City Hall for an opening rally.
Together the groups drew reactions ranging from baffled looks to supportive car honks from the downtown crowds during their boisterous, loud walk to both sites. Holding a flash mob-style bank action so soon after the nationwide “Bank Transfer Day” was a way to build on the momentum of that effort, said Elise XX, a member of the actions committee for Occupy LA.
“City Hall can’t give us a whole lot, but the banks can,” she said. “You can get a symbolic message out there by occupying a bank.”
That symbolism was powerful enough to bring Eric Baran from his home far from downtown Los Angeles at the spur of the moment after seeing the event listed on the Occupy LA website. Married, with three children ranging in age from nine- to 13-years-old, he said he was deeply concerned about the economic future for his children.
An employee of a major grocery chain, he recently “came through brutal contract negotiations” where, in the end, new employees “take forever to qualify for healthcare. What does that say about the future for workers?” he said.
He showed up at the to be counted and directly support the efforts of Occupy LA. “Through my own senses I can see this is an honest group of people who are trying to find a solution, even if they don’t have an exact list of what the problems are,” Baran said. “They’re trying.”
Article: Pam Noles
Photography: Mikey Wally