Bridge rally puts focus on jobs, infrastructure

BALTIMORE – Amid chants of “We are the 99 percent” and “Jobs not cuts,” nearly 300 union members, Occupy Baltimore activists and community leaders and members rallied here for about two hours Nov. 17 at a busy intersection and on the aging steel Howard Street Bridge over Interstate 83. Event planners, led by “Good Jobs, Better Baltimore,” hung a 3-foot by 40 -oot banner from the side of the bridge that said “99% – 1%, Bridge The Gap, Jobs Not Cuts.”

It was part of similar bridge actions taking place around the country.

The rally was opened by John Reed, executive vice president, 1199 Health Care Workers East, who said, “We are assembled to support President Obama’s Jobs Bill, and the Howard Street Bridge is a symbol of the jobs rebuilding America that could be.”

Principal organizers were SEIU, MoveOn and Occupy Baltimore. Speakers included health care workers, unemployed workers, teachers and community activists.


Jim Baldridge
Jim Baldridge

The late Jim Baldridge of Baltimore was a staunch union man, a member of the Shipbuilder’s Industrial Union repairing ocean-going ships until the yard closed. He found work at Johns Hopkins Hospital and joined Local 1199. He walked the picketlines and joined mass marches through Baltimore. Jim was a member of Veterans for Peace and drove his pickup festooned with anti-war placards in the Martin Luther King Jr. parade on MLK Boulevard every year. Jim was the strong, quiet, unifying presence in this lifetime of work to change the world.