David Freiboth, executive secretary of the King County Labor Council, has a message for the Occupy Seattle protesters:
“Be patient, we’re coming.”
Within an hour, the conglomerate of 125 labor union affiliates in King County will issue a letter that calls on its entire membership to support the Occupy Seattle movement, Frieboth says. “We are going to go out to our entire affiliate base of 75,000 members,” he says. “We are going to be asking our activists to join in the protests and support in other ways they feel is appropriate, such as making sure there is logistic support in terms of water and blankets."
"If the protesters are feeling frustrated [by the absence of formal labor support], it’s because organic uprisings take time to organize," Frieboth continues. "We are being as strategically responsive as we can to have a sustainable message and movement."
In conjunction with the state federation, which represents 400,000 workers and signed on yesterday, the King County Labor Council also will encourage its members to support Occupy Seattle at its jobs rally next Thursday in Victor Steinbrueck Park. (Although Freiboth didn’t say it, rumor has it that the rally may be launching site for an Occupy Seattle march).
“We are taking this very seriously as an opportunity to highlight the economic inequity that we have been talking about for a long time,” Freiboth says. "The income disparity and corporate greed in the country has reached a point where people are tired of working within the system to address the inequities and taking it to the streets.”
Freiboth says the labor movement intends to “organize this a little bit more,” but, he adds, “I think these people are doing a pretty damn good job.”