Tens of thousands of protesters gather two blocks from Madison Square Garden in support of more union jobs. We hear an excerpt of a speech by Roger Toussaint, President of the Transit Workers Union. [includes rush transcript]
ROGER TOUSSAINT Brothers and sisters, George Bush had come to New York to claim the mantle of September 11th. While we transit workers worked the World Trade Center on September 11th, two to four thousand of our members worked on the pile and our workers on the rescue and recovery effort worked as an example and a symbol of cooperation, solidarity and selflessness. It worked well but they do not appreciate why it worked well. While Giuliani spoke at their convention Monday night, he talked about how he loved construction workers but he neglected to point out that these construction workers were union men and women. The rescue and recover effort worked well because it was union men and women on the pile, because unions teach us cooperation, togetherness and solidarity. That is the very opposite of the Bush agenda. The very opposite. That’s why our recovery effort worked well. And that is also why we are furious that George Bush dare come to New York to claim the mantle of September 11th and the World Trade Center. Furious because of how he has treated all of us whether it was a union newly formed, whether it was construction and trade or transit workers. Furious because we worked around the clock and now George Bush is trying to take away overtime pay. Furious because Giuliani lied to us about the poisons and toxins that were in the air that we were breathing in. Furious because they refused to even give us a fair shake with respect to the disability claims as a result of the work on the pile. Furious because they shortchanged us on rebuilding money. Furious because they didn’t have homeland security money, short-changed New York on education money. We are furious! Furious because George Bush prefers to give money to Wyoming, North and South Dakota and Texas. Furious because he prefers to take money away even from the hunt for Bin Laden and uses the money to go after oil in Iraq. I’m speaking here as a parent who has a son in the military. I’m furious because my son may have to shed blood for oil as a result of George bush’s policies. We’re furious that George Bush dared to come to the scene of his crimes to claim the mantle of the towers. We are furious! Transit workers are furious and we join with all workers and all labor in saying, labor cannot stand four more years of George Bush! George Bush must go! George Bush must go! George Bush must go!