Labor rally joins Occupy Seattle, splits to protest Mitt Romney

Oct 13, 2011

Members of King County’s labor council rallied today to call for job growth in the Seattle park that’s been home to Occupy Seattle protests. Labor leaders say they did not want to co-opt the grassroots movement but saw a rally in Westlake Park as an opportunity for both groups. 

The labor council was originally planning to hold its rally in a park near Pike Place Market. Apparently, that spot was so three weeks ago. With all the recent attention on Westlake, they quickly switched gears.

David Freiboth is the council’s executive secretary:

“This is where the energy is. I mean, look, broadly, their message is our message, which is a frustration with economic equality in the country. And when we showed up here, we asked them if they would like to be involved.”

Rare opportunity

William Hoffman, an Occupy Seattle demonstrator, says he and some of his fellow protestors took the labor council up on the offer to collaborate:

“A lot of people didn’t know what was going on with us. So, I talked to some of the local iron worker guys. They gave us the high five.”

The labor rally also gave them a rare platform to share their intent - over a microphone and loudspeakers.

“We are going to be here everyday, all day," said Carson, an Occupy Seattle protestor

Not so for labor members, though. Immediately after the rally was over, they went to protest at Microsoft, where Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was speaking about trade issues.

Occupy Seattle

The Associated Press reports that about 25 protesters have moved to City Hall, where Mayor McGinn has said they were welcome. Midday Thursday, some joined the union outside the Grand Hyatt, where Romney was holding a noon fundraiser.