Look Everyone! It’s Raining Jobs!

Okay, not really. However, in a spirited response to the Occupy Chicago protests, traders at the Chicago Board of Trade tossed photocopies of McDonald’s job applications from their windows on the heads of protesters. With their usual good humor, protesters referred to the Board of Trade as a “soulless place.”

This is only the latest amusing stunt at the Board, as last month a “WE ARE THE 1%” sign was hung from its windows, and later leaflets reading “We are the 1% paying for this” were dumped from the windows in what is presumably civil disobedience against local littering laws.

While amusing, though, such “get a job” stunts are becoming less applicable to many Occupy protesters. I’ve been interning in Manhattan these last few months and have been able to watch the gradual transformation of the protests first-hand. While there are still a lot of aimless 20-somethings, particularly among the long-term occupiers, the protests are increasingly becoming a branch of traditional union activism. A march down Broadway yesterday afternoon included a great many unionized employees (hard hats abounded) and a far lower share of the young people who have characterized earlier protests.

The ironic result is that the protests are now shifting away from the angry jobless and towards that special class (call them the 13%) which routinely receives excellent compensation and exceptional job security despite the deep recession. While this shift has infused the Occupy movement with expertise and manpower from a group where constant aggravation is practically a job requirement, it is also starting to turn the protests into just another union demonstration. Americans who just want jobs and a growing economy will perhaps be unlikely to sympathize with angry government employees who want to protect their take of taxpayer money.

–Blake Neff