No longer seen as young outcasts with no direction or anything better to do than Occupy Wall Street in protest, the movement that began in New York's financial district is gaining momentum with middle America.
Protests are spawning in other cities, including San Francisco, where the General Assembly of the Occupy San Francisco movement has set up on Market Street. The group is planning to march to the city's Federal Reserve Bank at noon on Wednesday. The group has been small so far, numbering a few dozen, but it matches with others Occupy Wall Street protest spin-offs from Los Angeles to Boston to Chicago and other cities throughout the U.S. and world.
But the most striking development for the Occupy Wall Street movement may be the sudden involvement of middle America, as unions have endorsed the protest, saying the group is speaking for the vast majority of Americans fed up over how bankers and the financial establishment is pilfering the nation, and world at large as a gripping economic slowdown continues from the U.S. to Greece, and most everywhere in between.
In New York, several unions have endorsed the Occupy Wall Street movement, labor leaders have said.
It's really simple. These young people on Wall Street are giving voice to many of the problems that working people in America have been confronting over the last several years, Larry Hanley, international president of the Amalgamated Transit Union, which has 20,000 members in the New York area, told CNN.
Transport Workers Union Local 100 spokesman Jim Gannon said the Occupy Wall Street protest, intended to speak out against social unfairness caused by the global financial establishment, has common ground with unions -- which often fight a similar battle, using similar tools -- the protest.
For weeks hundreds to even thousands have camped near Wall Street in Lower Manhattan in protest. In the past week, the movement gained considerable momentum as protester arrests shot up and attention and alliance poured in from throughout the world.
Their goals are our goals, Gannon said. They brought a spotlight on issues that we've believed in for quite some time now ... Wall Street caused the implosion in the first place and is getting away Scot-free while workers, transit workers, everybody, is forced to pay for their excesses.
These young folks have brought a pretty bright spotlight, Gannon added. It's kind of a natural alliance.
The leaderless Occupy Wall Street movement made international news Oct. 1 when roughly 700 of the anti-Wall Street demonstrators were arrested during a peaceful march on the Brooklyn Bridge in New York.
That attention apparently enlisted more help from middle American, particularly many unions, including some teachers associations and an organization of nurses in Massachusetts who plan to make a protest spin off -- Occupy Boston -- a part of opening festivities for a national nursing convention about to start in Boston.
The Occupy Wall Street movement, which began peacefully in September, has called for 20,000 people to flood the New York City financial district for several months in the hope of gaining the attention of U.S. President Barack Obama and other political leaders domestically and abroad in hopes they will remedy the inequities they claim are bringing down society.