Jobs for Justice March

A coalition of occupiers and trade unionists gathered October 22nd to march across the Columbia River and join activists from Occupy Vancouver. Labor campaign veterans from many trade unions including communications workers, longeshoreman, and plumbers demonstrated in solidarity with workers fighting for their rights at the Vancouver Hilton Hotel.

About 300 people, including a school bus from Chapman Square in downtown Portland, gathered in Jantzen Beach to begin the march. The starting point had symbolic value and demonstrates the current dominance of corporate culture in society, which demonstrators are trying to resist: signs of Burger King and Office Depot blaze across the skyline within a cluster of strip malls.

The route was also an opportunity to see how the physical landscape of Portland-Vancouver will change if industrial development continues unabated. From the bridge over the river one can see the proposed marine terminal site at West Hayden Island, where currently there are 380 acres of undeveloped natural area. The bridge itself is scheduled to be replaced by the massive Columbia River Crossing project.

Demonstrators eventually made their way to the central plaza in downtown Vancouver where they were greeted by fellow occupiers from that city. A number of activists addressed the assembled crowd, including Wanda Buck, a worker at the Hilton Hotel. “City Hall and the Hilton are a two headed beast,” she said, gesturing to the two buildings which flank the park. Buck decried the hotel for paying poverty wages and announced an action at City Hall on Monday, October
24th at 6:30pm.

Jobs with Justice and the Bus Project were among the demonstration’s sponsors.

by Tomás Ward