Occupy Pittsburgh To Hold Rally at the City County Building April 4 supporting National Day of Action for Public Transportation

Pittsburgh, PA—(ENEWSPF)—April 3, 2012.  On Wednesday, April 4 at 12:00 noon, Occupy Pittsburgh invites the people of Allegheny County to stand together with those across the country to demand public transportation for the 99%. Public transportation provides vital access to work, housing, medical care, school, and other services for citizens in our county. It is a basic human right which helps everyone reach a decent standard of living, and secures health and well-being of our families.

April 4th is the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s groundbreaking speech “Beyond Vietnam: Breaking the Silence” in which he spoke of the connections between war and poverty. He explained his understanding that “America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube”, and that he had become “increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.”

In this spirit, we recognize that attacks on public transportation happening across the country, from Boston to Portland, Pittsburgh to Oakland, and DC to LA are part of a larger austerity program being enforced against the 99% of Americans. We also recognize that these and other austerity measures are a result of the military adventures that “draw men and skills and money” away from the poorest and weakest in our society and for the benefit of the richest and most powerful 1%. These are fronts of the same struggle for a humane society, in which the needs of all come before the profits of the few.

Exactly one year after Dr. King’s speech on war and austerity, as he built momentum for a strike to support municipal workers, he was assassinated on April 4th, 1968. Today, we remember a great visionary by continuing his fight for economic equality and an end to war.

On April 27, the Port Authority Board of Directors will vote on service changes that would result in a 35 percent service reduction. Nearly half of the county’s current routes could be eliminated, stranding 45,000 riders and eliminating 600 transit jobs. In addition, many workers depending on public transportation to get to work will lose their jobs if the proposed cuts are put into effect, adding to local unemployment figures and further plunging our local economy into recession. These cuts would have a devastating and disproportionate impact on low-income communities, students, the disabled community, workers, seniors and the environment.

We do not accept any transportation funding strategies that shift the burden further onto the backs of the 99%; the poor and working classes. Instead, we demand an end to the wars abroad and to austerity at home. We demand that corporations pay a “fare” share to fund public services like transportation and we demand an end to tax loopholes. We reject Governor Corbett’s proposal to extract more concessions from the local transit workers’ union (ATU local 85), since they have given their fair share of concessions and are part of the solution to the crisis, not part of the problem. The real culprit behind underfunded pension funds and high healthcare costs is the 1%. Our government’s failure to regulate big banks like BNY Mellon or Bank of America and prevent reckless and sometimes illegal financial moves is the real cause of public pension funds shortfalls. It is also no wonder that healthcare costs for these same workers are out of control when our region is dominated by fake not-for-profit monopolies on both the insurer and provider sides of healthcare.

Occupy Pittsburgh and Pittsburghers for Public Transit call on all Pittsburghers to join us on April 4th at 12:00 noon at the City County Building and fight to save this county’s public transit. We are also inviting transit riders to join with us on Tuesday, April 10 at 12:30 before the Pittsburgh City Council’s Post Agenda discussion about transit funding in front of the Council Chambers at 510 City County Building, 414 Grant Street and at the Port Authority Board of Directors meeting on April 27th.

Source: www.OccupyPittsburgh.org