NEW CANAAN, Conn. The Occupy Wall Street movement is coming to New Canaan on Saturday in the form of a protest outside the home of General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt.
In what organizers believe is the first Occupy Wall Street protest in Fairfield County, the independent political group Connecticut Working Families is planning a noon rally at Immelt's home to draw attention to what it calls Fairfield-based GE's "corporate greed" and indifference to "ordinary working Americans."
"While many Americans continue to struggle, GE CEO Jeff Immelt exemplifies the growing divide between rich and powerful executives and everyone else," said Jon Green, executive director of Connecticut Working Families.
"Unemployment is stuck at over 9 percent, and GE has eliminated 19,000 U.S. jobs. As most Americans have seen their incomes decline, Jeff Immelt has seen his pay jump to over $21 million last year," Green said. "State and local governments are laying off teachers and emergency responders, yet GE continues to pay no federal income taxes, and Immelt chairs the president's Jobs and Competitiveness Task Force."
He said, "Ordinary Americans who have suffered in this economy will be able to tell their stories" at Saturday's event. "Corporate lobbyists and conservatives in Congress say we need to cut taxes for millionaire 'job creators.' Yet GE pays no taxes and still eliminates thousands of jobs. It's time for ordinary Americans to come together peacefully to make their voices heard."
Protesters will go to the Immelt's home "to tell Jeff Immelt our stories so he can see how the other half lives," according to a statement released by the group. "As the president's Economic Advisory Panel chair, he has enormous influence over decisions made in Washington. So we need to tell him what's really happening in our economy."
The message of the event, organizers say, is "not only about GE's bad behavior, it's about the contrast between those suffering from the economic downturn and a company and a CEO that are getting very rich while we suffer."
The rally comes just months after New Canaan was ranked as having the highest median income in the state in a Connecticut study. Money Magazine recently ranked New Canaan as ninth in the nation on the list of top-earning towns.
The Occupy Wall Street movement began just more than a month ago in Zuccotti Park in the shadow of the rising World Trade Center complex in Manhattan. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have rallied around the world, and many encampments have started up in large and small cities, including Washington, D.C.
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