Briefs: US Occupy supports workers' and student protests

March 3, 2012

Chicago workers occupy plant, score win

Workers facing layoffs at a Chicago window factory have declared victory after occupying their plant for 11 hours, said on February 24.

The Occupy Wall Street website said: “Through direct community action, including the support of Occupy Chicago, the workers and their union prevented the California-based Serious Energy company from closing the plant for another 90 days. The workers hope this will give them time to keep the plant open, possibly by purchasing it themselves and creating a worker-owned co-op.”

“We can run this company,” Juan Cortez, who has worked more than 23 years in the factory, said. “We got smart people to manage the money. We can find customers. We know how to run the company.”

Members of Occupy Chicago showed up in solidarity and brought supplies. In 2008, workers at the same factory occupied their plant for six days during a labor dispute with its previous owners, Republic Windows and Doors. That occupation forced Bank of America into a US$1.75 million settlement with the workers.

US students march for public education

Students across the United States staged demonstrations in many cities on March 1 to protest against the dramatic soaring costs of the education and the student loans in the US, Press TV said the next day.

The protests were part of a National Day of Action to Defend the Right to Education organised by student groups and the Occupy movement. More than 70 schools and universities were involved.

Press TV said: “The protests are the latest in a string of protests against the lack of funding for public education in the state, which has resulted in sharp tuition fee increases for public universities in recent years.”

Occupy organises 'Shut Down the Corporations' day

A national day of action to “Shut Down the Corporations”, originally called by Occupy Portland, took place across the United States on February 29. The #F29 actions, as they were known, targetted corporations that were members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

The website for actions,, said: “The biggest corporations in America, like ExxonMobil, Bank of America, BP, Monsanto, Pfizer, and Wal-Mart use ALEC to buy off legislators and craft legislation that serves only the interests of corporations and not people.”

The website said on February 29: “[T]he actions today varied from sit-ins and pickets to street theater and banner drops … Three distribution centers of Wal-Mart were shut down in a coordinated southern California action, as well as the World Corporate Headquarters of Pfizer in Connecticut …

“Dozens of other cities took action as part of F29 including Denver, Minneapolis, Louisville, Winston-Salem, and many others. We are proud to say the tone of the actions today remained jubilant and focused even in the face of police repression.”

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