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Video: Union workers join growing anti-Wall St. protests

  1. Transcript of: Union workers join growing anti-Wall St. protests

    WILLIAMS: Good evening.

    BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: We begin tonight with what has become by any measure a pretty massive protest movement. While it goes by the official name Occupy Wall Street , it has spread steadily and far beyond Wall Street and it could well turn out to be the protest of this current era. The lyric from 45 years ago in the Buffalo Springfield song " For_What_It 's_Worth" could also describe this current movement right now. Once again, there is something happening here. What it

    is ain't exactly clear, but it encompasses a lot of things: anger, frustration, disenfranchisement, income disparity, unaccountability and general upheaval and dissatisfaction. Again today, thousands took to the streets of this city. They're in the streets of other cities as well. It's where we begin tonight with NBC 's Mara Schiavocampo in Lower Manhattan . Mara , good evening.

    MARA SCHIAVOCAMPO reporting: Brian , good evening. Today the demonstrators behind me got a boost of manpower joined by thousands of new protesters including many from labor unions.

    Protesters: We say fight back!

    SCHIAVOCAMPO: For the 19th day in a row, crowds took to the streets of New York .

    Unidentified Woman: This is the beginning of the people's revolution.

    SCHIAVOCAMPO: Thousands marching through downtown New York , the largest crowd yet and more varied in age and background.

    Unidentified Man #1: I came by here on day three and saw this and of course I joined.

    SCHIAVOCAMPO: The group has not yet come together on what their message is.

    Protesters: We got sold out!

    SCHIAVOCAMPO: But union leaders who have thrown their support behind the protesters say they understand.

    Mr. LEO GERARD (United Steelworkers President): They've all got different kinds of issues. There's students who can't get a job, there's industrial workers whose factories have been moved to China who can't get a job. There's people who have lost their homes and can't find a place to live. And people are saying like that movie, hell, no, I'm not taking this anymore.

    SCHIAVOCAMPO: Today's union -backing drew out people like Liane Nikitovich , a single mother from New York .

    Ms. LIANE NIKITOVICH: I work more than ever in order to just live and you know, keep the basics up and I don't see a future really. I don't know how I'm going to retire.

    SCHIAVOCAMPO: Protests have popped up all over the country. In LA , even soggy weather couldn't keep people away.

    Unidentified Man #2: You can't rain out an idea.

    SCHIAVOCAMPO: And in Chicago , anger at a sign posted in the windows of the Chicago Board of Trade , "We are the 1 percent, mocking the protesters' call that they are the 99 percent, the vast majority of ordinary Americans who've been pummelled by the recession. The movement has even drawn the attention of those in Washington .

    Mr. BEN BERNANKE (Federal Reserve Chairman): They blame, with some justification, the problems in the financial sector for getting us into this mess and they're dissatisfied with the policy response here in Washington and I -- at some level, I can't blame them.

    SCHIAVOCAMPO: Experts say though still largely undefined, the movement has a lot of potential.

    Mr. DORIAN WARREN (Columbia University): Just as a show of support, to have thousands of people out on the streets agreeing with the fundamental demands and issues that these protesters are raising, I think has already -- it means they've already won.

    SCHIAVOCAMPO: Now despite a heavy police presence, today's march was orderly and there were few arrests, a departure from last weekend when 700 were taken

    into custody in a single day. Brian: Mara Schiavocampo starting us off, Lower Manhattan tonight. Thanks.


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