Supplied with red Santa caps and signs, on Wednesday afternoon the organization Working Washington and SEIU (Service Employees International Union) and other common citizens took it to the streets, putting CEOs who want cuts to benefits on the naughty list and sending a message to the president to not come to compromise with the Republicans with the ‘fiscal cliff’ edging forth.
The group first gathered at Westlake Park in downtown Seattle with a few speeches to begin the day. Everyone had a Santa Claus cap, a sheet of paper that consisted of Christmas jingles with the words altered to fit the activities, and a few other chants. Signs were passed around for people to hold with messages such as "No cuts, no compromise." Even Santa himself was there to deliver coal to the companies.
First stop was Bank of America, who's CEO, Brian Moynihan took a $2.5 billon corporate tax cut. Two Seattle Police Officers were at the front door to deny protesters access. With the crowd chanting “Bank of America is bad for America” it was hard not for some of the managers of the branch to peer out the window and see democracy in full swing. The atrocities of what Bank of America had committed on the working people were spelled out over the loudspeaker for all to hear.
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The next stop was across 3rd avenue, Chase. CEO Jamie Dimon got a $4.9 billion tax cut. Crossing the busy Seattle Street and the cold, damp Seattle air the crowd was quite comfortable and warm marching in solidarity, even drawing attention from passerby’s, especially with the chanting and the Santa caps. Some pulled out there phones to capture a snapshot of this anomaly. Much like at Bank of America, the crimes against the people were listed and again the crowd was denied access to the branch, and did not accept Santa’s coal.
It was then on to the final stop on the justice voyage: Macy’s. Where CEO Terry Lundgren took advantage of a $1.9 million personal tax cut. This time the group gained access indoors. In the lobby the chants were continuing and echoing throughout the store. Shoppers heard it all, the store managers came quickly to tend to the situation. It appeared that they were pleading the cops to kick the protest out. While the events were proceeding at Macy's, one of the speakers on the loudspeaker said "These CEOs have enough food in their fridge, well more than enough to live even if they are to be taxed more, or provide healthcare to employees." That couldn't explain the situation as good as those words expressed in the lobby of the superstore, where their CEO took that outrageous personal tax cut.
Everyone filed out of the building peeking more attention from folks on the streets. After it was all said and done it was a great day for the protesters from Working Washington and the SEIU.
Sage Wilson with communications at Working Washington said “We want to get what we voted for this last election and today was a great way for us to be direct but fun.” With Santa Clause delivering coal to the companies couldn’t elaborate that any better. “No cuts, no compromise” was the clear message of the day.
The organization Working Washington consists of neighborhood associations, immigrant groups, people of faith, civil rights activists and labor leaders, who work collectively to pressure politicians and corporations to work on the peoples behalf and not for the few, the rich. They work for more living wage jobs, jobs that offer benefits, and the right for employees to join a union.
The organization is planning on calling State Senators on December 18th to get the message across and be even more direct in their goal.
The red Santa hats and Santa himself were well attractive and delivering the coal to these companies simply sums it all up. The people want what they voted in, and organizations like Working Washington will only make the voice clearer: “If you want to take away our benefits then We the People will give you coal this Christmas.”