photo credit: Garret Ettinger
Following a bus tour for education funding that visited more than a dozen communities across the state, over fifty people, beginning on June 29th, staged a week long occupation in Harrisburg demanding the Republican dominated legislature tax the shale and adopt a fair budget that can give us the schools we deserve.
Spearheaded by SEIU Healthcare, the occupation included people from Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Altoona, Williamsport, the Lehigh Valley, Johnstown and communities across the breadth of the state, PCAPS was well represented by ACTION United. Philadelphia Federation of Teachers brought out over a hundred teachers for a rally in the Capitol Rotunda that kicked off the week long occupation. Fast food workers from the fight for 15 and a union also joined in. Raising the minimum wage was one of themes of the occupation.
Occupiers camped out on the capitol steps and slept on the floor in a near by church. Over the course of the week rallies were staged in the Senate corridors and at the offices of Scott Wagner in York, Rep. Cox near Reading. Occupiers also demonstrated at the state Chamber of Commerce and the offices of lobbyists for the Oil and gas industry and the Restaurant owners.
On Thursday Governor Tom Wolf, after vetoing the budget passed by the legislature, came out on the Capitol steps to express appreciation for the support for his budget and to talk with the demonstrators.
Clearly the battle is far from over. Occupiers, now back home, are planning more actions in their local communities to build support for a fair budget and influence legislators in key districts.