Occupy Wall Street Allies Picket Upper East Side Billionaires Rupert, Koch

 
on October 11 2011 3:15 PM

A coalition of community groups allied with Occupy Wall Street transplanted their critique from downtown Manhattan to the Upper East Side on Tuesday, rallying in front of the stately apartment buildings of billionaires that included News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch, Koch Industries vice president David Koch and New York Private Bank & Trust CEO president Howard Milstein.

Organized by a group of Occupy Wall Street backers that included New York Communities for Change, United NY and the Working Families Party, the protest targeted wealthy New York City denizens who stand to benefit from the imminent expiration of New York state's 2% millionaire's tax. Protesters massed near the bottom of Central Park before winding their way past the homes of affluent capitalists.

The Upper East Side is where the wealthiest one percent lives, and they're about to get $5 billion in unfair tax breaks, while public employees like police officers and teachers grapple with deep budget cuts, said New York Communities for Change organizer Jonathan Westin.

To drive the point home, protesters carried oversized checks with the amount Five Billion Dollar State Tax Cut made out to The Top One Percent. Occupy Wall Street's rallying cry has been we are the 99 percent, a reference to widening economic inequity.

Hundreds of protesters proceeded slowly up Fifth Avenue and then Park Avenue, chanting slogans as they passed foreign consulate buildings and window displays of glittering designer bags. Protesters helped the police officers lining the street by admonishing protesters who strayed into the street to remain on the sidewalk.

Joining the march were members of the Teamsters Local 814. Typically responsible for transporting art purchased through the prominent auction house Sotheby's, they are currently locked out of their jobs amidst a dispute over wages and benefits.

They came to the table looking for deep concessions in the most profitable year of their history, said shop steward David Martinez. He added that Sotheby's was moving to phase out union jobs in favor of full-time temporary labor.

You can contact the reporter at j.white@IBTimes.com

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly reported that the the Teamsters Local 814 was on strike, when in fact they were told by Sotheby's to not come to work. IBTimes regrets the error.

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