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Labor ralliers begin to gather at state capitol for “We Are One! Put People First!” event

Post by Peter Callaghan / The News Tribune on April 8, 2011 at 11:58 am | 32 Comments »
April 8, 2011 12:14 pm
Union members begin gathering on the steps of Legislative Building for today's rally

“Moses was a strike leader,” read the sign held by Anacortes electrical worker Nicholas Petrish.

It was just one of hundreds waved by those attending the rally that organizers predict will attract up to 5,000 people. Both before and after the rally, union members were asked to make visits to their legislators.

While there is a bit more of a State Patrol presence than a normal day, it seems security is taking a less obvious approach despite Thursday protests that led to 17 arrests.

Buses of union members ranging from the Longshoreman to the Screen Actors Guild began arriving in mid-morning. They filled the stone steps leading up to the domed Legislative Building and those in front of the Temple of Justice.

Greg Devereux, exec director of the Washington State Federal of State Employees said he expect the steps and the space between known as the oval to be filled before the noon rally gets under way.

Inside the Legislative Building, the scene was pretty normal. Protesters who had spent two nights in the rotunda to protest cuts to social services and call for closing business tax preferences were gone. And the House and Senate were either in closed-door caucus or acting on non-controversial bills.

The House, however, may take up the budget later today. And that could be a target for protesters who object to the level of cuts being proposed.

Many of the signs held by ralliers talked about a perception that some cuts could be avoided if loopholes were closed.

 

“We are fighting corporate greed,” read one sign. And a large, inflatable balloon featured a “fat cat” with its fist around the neck of another figure.

Democrats, however, say they don’t have the two-thirds majorities needed to do that.

Shannon Ergun, an english language learner teacher at Tacoma's Lincoln High School, posed with an inflated "fat cat" at today's labor rally
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