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Organized Labor—Power of Unions

After a decades-long decline in union membership, Occupy Wall Street was one of several events in the 21st century that spurred a renewed interest in unions, particularly among young people on the left. By October 2011, Occupy had garnered enough attention to receive significant support from labor unions, including those that typically avoided confrontational tactics. “Our members have been trying to have this discussion about Wall Street and the economy for a long time,” then AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in an interview. “This movement is providing us the vehicle.” Aside from the presence of union members at Zuccotti, influential labor unions provided office space, meeting rooms, photocopying services, legal help, and food to demonstrators. The partnership also led to activists participating in union actions, including a protest organized by telephone workers that was aimed at Verizon's abusive practices. The tenuous alliance was reflective of their shared frustrations with the Obama administration's lack of support for organized labor.

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