LABOR BEAT: Video story of the June 14 marches to the Hyatt now available, 20 minutes long

Chicago's famous Labor Beat labor video collective has just released its video report on the huge June 14 marches in Chicago that ended with the arrests of more than a dozen people outside the Hyatt Regency Chicago Hotel on June 14. For those whose computers are unable to get the hotlink above, the 18-minute video is available at the URL:

Many of the marchers on June 14 Stand Up Chicago were teachers organized by the Chicago Teachers Union. Above, the marchers headed past the Pritzker family's Hyatt Hotel and then past the Aon center on Stetson Drive during the actions. Substance photo by Garth Liebhaber.To the tune of the chant "HEY HEY. HO HO. CORPORATE WELARE HAS GOT TO GO!" thousands marched from three locations in downtown Chicago, coorrdinating the marches so that they arrived at the corner of Michigan Ave and Wacker Drive at the same time, then marched up the hill for a spirited rally in front of the Hyatt Regency Chicago Hotel.

The three feeder marches were the Jobs March (which went from the Daley Plaza to the Hyatt), the Housing March (which went from the State of Illinois building to the Hyatt), and the Education march, which went from Chicago City Center across the river from the Hyatt adjacent to the Tribune Tower. Each of the marches was led by a 12 foot tall puppet wearing a crown of gold, representing the corporate kings who rule the world. The march went to the Hyatt for two reasons. On that day, the Chief Financial Officers of some of the world's largest corporations were holding a meeting inside. And the Hyatt Hotels are owned by Chicago's Pritzker family, some of the world's foremost billionaires (eleven of the 12 billionaires listed in Forbes magazine's billionaires list in March 2011 from Chicago are named Pritzker), and the family that includes Penny Pritzker, who was just appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to the Chicago Board of Education.

The 'Jobs' part of the crowd begins up Wacker Drive towards the Hyatt Hotel. Substance photo by Graham Hill.The video takes the march from the preparation to its conclusion with the arrests of several people who sat in on Stetson Drive outside the Hyatt. In the video, a number of people (including this reporter) explain what's going on and why. Eric Wagner, Kelvyn Park High School teacher whose students helped make some of the giant puppets) talks about how his students are being taught social justice themes. Jackson Potter of the Chicago Teachers Union gets a tour of the preparations.

During the marches, banners from Stand Up Chicago were unfurled from Marina City and from Trump Towers, two of Chicago's most famous buildings.

Caleb Jennings, Stand Up Chicago, narrates much of the preparations and the reasons for the march. The careful preparations allowed three distinct groups of marchers (Education, Jobs, and Housing) to hold their own preparatory marches and then merge into one large challenge to corporate capitalist hegemony when they linked up at the corner of Michigan and Wacker Drives in Chicago a block from the Hyatt Regency Chicago Hotel.

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis spoke to the "Education" part of the marches in the shadow of the Tribune Tower at City Center before the march moved south across the bridge to link up with the other two feeder marches and go to the Hyatt Regency. Substance photo by Graham Hill.The Hyatt was chosen as a symbol of corporate Chicago, international finance, and because its owners (the largest group of owners, controlling almost a majority of the shares of common stock, are from Chicago's Pritzker family) have been ruthlessly speeding up the work of the hotel chain's workers while engaging in stalling tactics against those unions that do represent Hyatt workers in many cities in the USA. The Hyatt Regency was also the location of the CFO conference that the marchers highlighted.

The film shows the making of the puppets that led each of the feeder marches.

Housing constituency group met at the State of Illinois building.

Kings of Corporate Chicago puppets.

Several protesters were arrested in the shadow of the Hyatt for non-violent civil disobedience. Above, Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey (red shirt, left) is arrested on Stetson Drive. Substance photo by Graham Hill.KOCO was a large part of the fededer on housing. A spokeswoman for Action Now. "I’m here to save my house. We got houses selling for $69,000 on my block. I need my house. “Give us our modifications…”

“All we asking for is Chase to come out and talk to us at our house…”

Another chant was: "Hey Hey What you say. Corporations gotta pay…"

Banner from Marina Towers says “End corporate welfare…”

Banner "CFOs you’re fired!" from Trump Tower.

The Labor Beat notes for the show are as follows:

The Executive Summit of CEOs and CFOs at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago on June 14, 2011 was the target of a broad coalition of community and labor organizations, put together by Stand Up! Chicago. Several thousand protesters successfully pulled off 3 coordinated feeder marches (housing, jobs, education) that transformed the hub of corporate Chicago at Michigan and Wacker into protest central. We begin with the small band of movement artists (teachers, students and activists) as they plan the visuals and create the huge puppets (Kings of Corporate Welfare) which became the visual rallying points of the Give It Back march and rally. We show the process of how the big march came together and how working people were able to appropriate Chicago's showplace of big business and convert it into a movement theatrical backdrop.

Many of the signs highlighted the ways in which America's largest corporations, whose CFOs were meeting inside the Hyatt (right in the photo above) have pushed the burdens of society on to the working class and the middle class, while avoiding taxes and bullying governments across the world. Substance photo by Susan Zupan.The CEOs at the Hyatt went on with their meeting, and a city-wide movement gained confidence in its organizing skills. Rod Wilson of the Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization observed: "This is definitely the beginning, not the end, not the culminating, but the beginning." Length - 18:33. Produced by Labor Beat. Labor Beat is a CAN TV Community Partner. Labor Beat is a non-profit 501(c)(3) member of IBEW 1220. Views are those of the producer Labor Beat. For info:, 312-226-3330. For other Labor Beat videos, visit Google Video, YouTube, or and search "Labor Beat". Labor Beat has regular cable slots in Chicago, Evanston, Rockford, Urbana, IL; St. Louis, MO; Philadelphia, PA; Princeton, NJ; and Rochester, NY. For more detailed information, send us a request at

The Labor Beat video ends with the arrests of several union officials and rank and file activists by Chicago police. The puppets were also taken into custody.


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