Occupy Baltimore & DC and 1199: We Are All the 99 Percent

January 1, 1970

The delegates of 1199SEIU’s Maryland/DC region voted unanimously on October 19 to support Occupy Baltimore and Occupy DC, the local outposts of the global movement launched on Wall Street last month.While some have complained that the movement lacks a clear message, representatives from the two Occupy groups stated it plainly, beginning their presentation to the delegates with a group chant of “We are the 99 percent!” Few slogans better capture the challenge confronting American workers today.As Shallon Brown of Occupy Baltimore put it, “The 1 percent have been holding too much power for too long, and we’ve all suffered as a result.”In Baltimore, informal links between the Occupy movement and 1199 began growing almost as soon as the first tents went up in McKeldin Square, the small plaza in the city’s Inner Harbor tourist district where the occupiers have gathered.Like Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Baltimore has focused on the havoc wreaked by financial institutions. So has the 1199-backed group Good Jobs Better Baltimore. Both have protested against Wells Fargo, the bank being sued by the City of Baltimore for racist and predatory lending practices during the housing bubble.On October 5, Baltimore’s 1199ers and Occupiers crossed paths again when they both joined the janitors of SEIU 32BJ as they rallied at McKeldin Square for a fair contract. » View article about the contract they’ve won!Debbie Odom, an 1199er and nursing assistant at Ravenwood Nursing Home, said she was moved by the spirit of unity at the rally. “We’re all fighting for the same things, good jobs and a fair economy,” said Odom. “When we work together our voices are heard and we can do anything.”That unity was apparent again in Washington this Monday at the 1199SEIU rally for J.B. Johnson nursing home workers, who have been fighting since February 2010 for a fair contract. Occupy DC members joined the caregivers for the rally at City Hall, which lies just across street from the Freedom Square site they’re occupying.Having seen how much they have in common, the Maryland/DC delegates felt it only made sense to express support for the Occupy movement. And while the next steps of the movement are uncertain, 1199ers will be walking them together with the Occupy protesters.- See more at: http://www.1199seiu.org/occupy_baltimore_dc_and_1199_we_are_all_the_99_percent_mddcreg#sthash.jBncsRIV.dpuf