Workers United convention rallies in solidarity with Occupy Chicago

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CHICAGO-Saying that it is "time to take our country back and we will, "over 200 delegates to the Midwest Regional Joint Board Convention of Workers United declared their solidarity with Occupy Chicago on Oct. 26.

Workers United President Noel Beasley said the Occupy movement was "exactly what America needs right now." He presented Occupy Chicago with sleeping bags and supplies to protect them from the coming harsh winter weather.

Beasley said he was speaking on behalf of 150,000 members of Workers United in the United States and Canada who work in laundry, textile, gaming, food service and apparel industries.

Speaking on behalf of Occupy Chicago, Andy told the crowd "the same corporate greed that has us in the streets in occupation, is the same corporate greed that has you in the streets. It's the same fight"

Workers United, Chicago Jobs with Justice and Occupy Chicago were also rallying at the Chicago Board of Trade to demand passage of a financial transaction tax of 25-cents on each trade.

According to a recent study by the Chicago Political Economy Group and Stand Up Chicago, such a tax on 12 million average trades per day could generate over $1.4 billion a year. Organizers propose the establishment of a Community Jobs Fund that could create 40,000 living wage jobs.

"I'm angry," said Greg McLaughlin, an unemployed Afghan war vet who served two tours of duty. "With Pres. Obama ending the Iraq War, there are a lot of vets who will be coming home and they will be out of jobs. Why are the corporate fat cats trying to avoid paying taxes? All we want are jobs."

The financial transaction tax proposal contrasts with the legislation State Senate President John Cullerton is offering to grant CME (owner of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade) a $50 million tax break after it threatened to leave the state.

"It's a shakedown," said Mehrdad Azemun of National People's Action, of the new tax break. NPA is one of several regional and statewide networks of community and church groups that are joining to protest the measure on Tuesday.

"Corporations as large as these need to pay their fair share, especially at a time when every day brings news of more cuts to state and city programs, more police stations being closed."

CME is one of the main initiators of the gambling schemes known as "derivatives" that caused the home foreclosure crisis and Wall Street meltdown in 2008.

Photo Workers United President Noel Beasley speaking at Occupy Chicago rally. Greg McLaughlin.