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Unions Join Occupy Wall Street for Largest Protest Yet

By Julie Shapiro | October 5, 2011 11:11am | Updated on October 5, 2011 2:00pm

LOWER MANHATTAN — Scores of union members will swell the ranks of Occupy Wall Street Wednesday afternoon as the group launches its largest demonstration yet against financial and social inequity.

Thousands of people — including hundreds who have been camped out in Zuccotti Park for more than two weeks, along with unionized teachers, nurses, transit workers and service workers — will gather in Foley Square at 3 p.m. Wednesday for a rally, organizers said.

At 4:30 p.m., they will march down to Wall Street, to confront the bankers and institutions they believe are culpable for the financial meltdown and have not yet been held responsible by the government.

"Together we will protest this great injustice," Occupy Wall Street wrote on its blog Tuesday night.

"Together we will voice our belief that the American dream will live again, that the American way is to help one another succeed. Our voice, our values, will be heard."

More than 30 unions and activist groups have pledged to participate, including the United Federation of Teachers, the Service Employees International Union, the Transport Workers Union, the Working Families Party, MoveOn.org, Tenants & Neighbors and Common Cause NY.

In addition, students from CUNY schools were expected to walk out in solidarity with the protesters and in protest of tuition hikes.

"[Wednesday's] march in solidarity with the Wall Street occupiers is just the beginning of the movement we need to see in our city to demand greater wealth distribution," said City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez.

"Students need to demand that Wall Street pay its fair share of taxes, and that this revenue go towards funding public education. I marched for a fair distribution of wealth in the 1990's as a student at City College, and I'm marching again for the same demands [Wednesday] as a City Council Member."

Occupy Wall Street's previous demonstrations have resulted in clashes with the police, including the pepper-spraying of seemingly peaceful women protesters Sept. 24 and the mass arrest of more than 700 protesters on the Brooklyn Bridge last Saturday.