ST. LOUIS – “Everybody here pays taxes. It’s only fair that they pay their fair share too,” Sonja Gholston-Byrd, vice president of the Communication Workers’ Union of America (CWA) Local 6300, told the People’s World as about 150 community and labor activists played a game of corporate dodge-ball outside of the downtown Bank of America office here April 17.
According to Steve Hollis from the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 3354, “Bank of America made $4.4 billion in profits last year, and paid no taxes.“
Additionally, Hollis added, “BOA got a $1.9 billion refund. That ain’t right.”
The rally out-side BOA was part of a nationwide day of action hoping to bring attention to corporate tax dodgers bankrupting our nation, and depriving state and local governments of much needed tax revenue.
The rally started in downtown Kiener Plaza, where hundreds of activists “occupied” last fall in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York City.
Gholston-Byrd, who is also the president of the St. Louis chapter of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW), added, “We all have the same issues. We all have to come together. The 99 percent is everybody.”
Celina Della Croce, a Washington University student who recently participated in a local 99% Spring training, is mostly concerned about mounting school debt.
She said she would be paying off school debt for the rest of her life.
“Big banks are making big money off students,” she added. “But they aren’t paying their fair share in taxes and we’re all paying the price.”
“If the 1 percent paid their fair share it would add $47 billion dollars to our economy,” Fred Wolfmeyer, president of the American Postal Workers’ Union (APWU) Gateway District Area Local, told the People’s World.
Wolfmeyer also talked about the Republican-blocked Buffet Rule, and said, “It is a first step towards tax fairness. Unfortunately, Missouri Congressman Roy Blunt sided with the 1 percent. He should be ashamed.”
Talal White, a member of Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE), summed-up the mood of the rally when he said, “The corporations are stealing from us. We need to bum-rush the stockholders’ meetings and raise hell.”
Photo: (PW/Tony Pecinovsky)