Norwalk Workers Protest To End Income Inequality Across State

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Norwalk Common Council member David Watts leads protesters in a chant for an end to income inequality.
Norwalk Common Council member David Watts leads protesters in a chant for an end to income inequality. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
Nelse Rodriguez and Maria Alicia Alcantara of SEIU 32BJ hold up signs to support the end to income inequality.
Nelse Rodriguez and Maria Alicia Alcantara of SEIU 32BJ hold up signs to support the end to income inequality. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
Protesters gather and sign petitions outside the Walmart in Norwalk to show their support for three bills that they believe will help the middle class.
Protesters gather and sign petitions outside the Walmart in Norwalk to show their support for three bills that they believe will help the middle class. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue

NORWALK, Conn. -- A crowd of about 15 people stood in front of the Walmart on Connecticut Avenue in Norwalk on Tuesday evening to demand an end to inequality in the state.

The vigil was one of 24 Vigils for Inequality held throughout the state of Connecticut on Tuesday. The vigils were held in cities and towns where poverty has increased. They were organized by a coalition of groups including the Connecticut Working Families Party, Connecticut Citizens Action Group, Service Employees International Union local 32BJ, AFSCME Council 4, local chapters of Moveon.org and local organizations. In addition to Norwalk, other Fairfield County towns to host vigils included Danbury, Bridgeport, Fairfield, Shelton, Stratford and Stamford.

"We're out here to fight for the middle class, " said Norwalk Common Council member David Watts, one of the organizers of the Norwalk vigil.

He said they were specifically supporting three bills before the state legislature that would reduce economic inequality. Senate Bill 249 allows workers without retirement plans to deposit a percentage of their wages into one trust fund. House Bill 5069 would charge corporations fees for paying poverty wages. House Bill 5241 would research ways to reduce student debt.

"Sometimes it's not about profit, it's about the people and investing in people. And when people go to work they should be allowed to retire in dignity, and that's why we're out here today, to fight for those who make these companies run," Watts said.

Former Norwalk Mayor Bill Collins was among those who came to show support for the cause.

"Norwalk is a good example of inequality of income," Collins said. "We have very rich areas and very poor areas in town, and they're getting farther and farther apart, both in income and in assets. It's happening all over the country because of poor social services and inadequate taxes on the rich. So citizens have to stand up and complain about that."

Collins said it was appropriate that the vigil was taking place outside Walmart.

"Walmart is notorious for not hiring people full time," he said. "Many people who work at Walmart cannot afford to live, cannot support families."

Watts said, "We're tired of corporations paying poverty wages. We believe, especially here in Norwalk where rent is extremely high, that people should be able to live where they work. And it's getting more and more difficult for families to do that."

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Comments (9)

I always find it pathetic how the Republicans hate the people. Thanks Mr Watts for all you do for the people of Norwalk.

Tuesday afternoon? Shouldn't these people be at work? Oh,thats right they don't have jobs.They expect to freeload off of the people who do work.They call them bums.Welcome to Obama world,were it has become noble to be an ingrate. There used to be a sense of shame in being a lazy freeloading bum.Not in Obamaworld.

Cuba has a very equal income distribution once you exclude Castro and his cronies. Everyone is miserable there. These protestors want everything handed to them. That's the Obama mindset. They should be thankful for Walmart. Provides jobs and great prices. And thankful to the top 10% of wage earners who pay 75% of the taxes that support their food stamps and Obama phones etc

Income inequality is a misnomer in many cases. So we have wealthy areas & not so wealthy areas, big deal. Increased poverty is something the politicians around here seek so they can get grants, build more low income housing, import more poor people, apply for grants, build more low income housing & so on. Rent is high in Norwalk because taxes are high in Norwalk. Taxes are high in Norwalk because an ever increasing chunk of us lives off of the taxes.
The BEST thing we can do for Norwalk & its tax paying population is start REDUCING low income housing. Its past time to stop blaming employers & productive people for our issues. If people cannot afford it here they should move or work to lower the cost of living, instead of milking the system and then crying because its so expensive.

Councilman Watts has plenty of free time to fight for the "middle class" since he hasn't had a job in recent memory, apart from short-term paid campaign work.

I feel sorry for Watts's constituents - they are underserved and deserve a better representative and role model.

What was the chant?

Bill Collins is awesome! Principled, courageous, and indefatigable.