Below is the official OWS poster for their May Day general strike, note the references “no work” and “no chores.”
Occupy Wall Street, largely forgotten over the last few months, aims to make a comeback from this winter’s hibernation with an ambitious plan: a crippling May Day “general strike” in the tradition of 1930s radicalism.
The grand promise is what one occupier, Brendan Burke, described to BuzzFeed as “a day without the 99%.” But in the city where the movement was born, it’s already suffering from what has emerged as one of Occupy’s signal weaknesses, the lack of ability or interest to make alliances with liberal institutions. Despite public solidarity, there’s little relationship between the Occupy movement and organized labor. And as a result, even the most progressive New York labor leaders say their members will not participate in the May 1 strike.
“It won’t happen,” said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union and one of the first labor leaders to embrace the Occupy movement. “They are not working with the unions in a serious way yet; nor are the unions working with them in a serious way. And it is the wrong strategy.”
“I think the concept is a great one but the reality is very tough,” said Arthur Cheliotes, the President of Local 1180, Communications Workers of America and a stalwart of the New York left.
Even Transit Workers Union Local 100, the New York City subway union with a tradition of being one of the most radical mainstream unions in the country, won’t take a side.
“I don’t think we’d take a position on that,” said Cheska Tolentino, a TWU Local 100 organizer in New York, whose union is still paying the price for a 2005 strike courts ruled illegal.