Protestors converge on CFO Executive Summit

June 14, 2011 7:52:16 PM PDT
Unions, community organizations, and activists demonstrated against corporate America in a large protest Tuesday in Chicago.

The protest happened outside the CFO Executive Summit at the Hyatt hotel.

The rally wrapped up an hour ago - organizers estimated the crowd at thousands, although the Chicago police and the city have not been able to confirm that figure.

The crowd was large enough to shut down a portion of East Wacker at rush hour. Demonstrators gathered at three separate downtown locations before converging at the Hyatt on Wacker.

Leaders from several major companies including Motorola, McDonald's, Blue Cross Blue Shield and IBM were gathered for the event.

The rally, overall, was peaceful and organized. Police did remove some protestors, but ABC7 is told no one was arrested at Tuesday's rally.

The goal of the march was to protest what demonstrators say are excessive corporate tax breaks and a lack of job creation by corporate America despite high profits.

"The CFOs up in the building right now having a conference, collectively their companies made over $200 billion in profits last year," said demonstrator Casey Murphy. "Executive compensation and bonuses over a billion, and in the meantime it's almost 10 percent unemployment in this country."

Participants say the corporations attending the event have taken money from chicago's working families -- homes and schools.

"We're just saying that we need to put real priorities into place. It should be our kids before the bankers and everybody else," said Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis.

Protestors are demanding that the companies give it back to those who need it most.

"There's enough wealth in this country for everybody to have a good job, but they're hoarding it. They're keeping it for themselves, and we're sending them a signal. We're not taking it anymore. We need jobs," said demonstrator Murphy.

"Federal government bailed out the banks, the major corporations, the cars - they can't bail out the teachers for our students? Come on. Where is the money? Give it back to us. Give it back to us. That is all we're asking. Give us a fair chance," said Chicago Teachers Union member Alonzo Hoskins.

18 different unions and groups including the Chicago Teachers Union, the SEIU, and a group called Stand Up Chicago helped organize the demonstration.

The CFO Executive Summit is an annual event that allows participants to share practices and develop leadership skills. Officials from Motorola, McDonald's, Ernst and Young, Blue Cross-Blue Shield, Hyatt Hotels, IBM, and CDW are speaking at this year's event.

This year's host for the CFO Executive Summit is the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. The group did not have a comment on the protest and said it would only respond to more specific charges from protestors.


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