'Occupy a Desk' Job Fair Comes to Zuccotti Park

PHOTO: Derrick Tabacco, left, a small business owner, and an unidentified man counter demonstrate against the Occupy Wall Street march near the New York Stock Exchange, Nov. 17, 2011 in New York.
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John Tabacco became so frustrated with disruption from the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protest near his office in Manhattan that he and his brother are hosting a job fair called Occupy a Desk in Zuccotti Park as a counter protest to the movement.

Tabacco, chief executive of Locatestock.com, first started a campaign called Free Wall Street Now to coincide with Occupy Wall Street's 'Day of Disruption' on Nov. 17. On that day, Occupy protesters planned to interrupt workers' commute to the New York Stock Exchange in response to being kicked out of New York's Zuccotti Park.

Police clashes with protesters across the country have cost cities millions of dollars since protests began in September, mostly in police overtime pay.

Tabacco, 43, and his brother, Derek, 41, and about 20 supporters counter protested during the 'Day of Disruption' holding signs near the stock exchange, such as "Occupy a Desk."

Tabacco said he and his brother had heated exchanges with the Occupy protesters.

"Thank God for the men and women of the NYPD because the Occupy people there were spewing all kinds of vulgarities at us," he said.

"Their main response was, 'I can't occupy a desk, because I can't get a job; where can I get a job?' That's what everyone was saying in response to our signs," Tabacco said, which inspired he and his brother to organize a jobs fair.

"We're business men and working guys," he said. "We know people who have at least one or two jobs that aren't filled, so we asked other people if they have jobs available."

The campaign received a "huge outpouring" of support from people across the country, Tabacco said.

The business owner said when he started to gauge interest in a jobs fair two weeks ago, he had a list of about 15 jobs. As of the weekend, they had a list of about 400 job openings in the tri-state area.

While OWS protesters are welcome to come and bring a resume, admission is free and open to everyone, Tabacco said.

"We're hoping to end the occupation by left wing vagabonds with a fragmented message and bring professional people who are trying to engage in a positive endeavor," he said.

The jobs fair is scheduled to last from noon to 4 p.m. on Monday in Zuccotti Park, where the Occupy Wall Street protest began on Sept. 17. The New York Police Department said Tabacco does not need a permit to host the fair in the park if the organizational group is under 20 people and there is no amplified sound.

While 12 companies are sending representatives to collect resumes and provide pre-interviews, Tabacco said a dozens of other companies have submitted job listings that will be published on the Free Wall Street Now website and will be listed at the fair. Participating companies include Intermedia Group, Network Placements, Health First, Rodman & Renshaw, and Ambit Energy.

Tabacco said the jobs fair is focused on opportunities in the tri-state area but invites others to "take our message to their occupied places." He said companies can contact him through his website.

"I would love to see and find like-minded individuals in other areas who have seen their public places taken over by groups of people diminishing quality of life to join our movement and bring a positive message," he said.

 
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