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May Day brings protesters against big business across the U.S., but even small businesses are concerned

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - May Day. It's a universal distress call, but on this May 1, May Day represents a call to action by labor activists and occupy protesters across the U.S., including right here in Central New York.

Nationwide, protesters are encouraging people not to go to work, not to go to school and not to spend any money.

Local business people weren't sure what to expect.

"The posters and the flyers that are around that I see say 'everyone...nothing," says Robin Raabe, primary manager of Tramontane Cafe in Utica.

Raabe wasn't sure if she would have any workers behind the counter or customers in front of it.

"Does that mean I'm not going to have individuals today?" Raabe said. "Was I supposed to be fearful of not having my employees come into work today and being here by myself?"

Occupy protesters gathering at downtown Utica's Liberty Bell Corner mid-afternoon on Tuesday assured local merchants that May Day is aimed at corporate America, not "Mom & Pop" shops.

"When we say' don't shop in the corporate America aspect,' it's because they pay their workers so little," said Occupy protester Sean Robertson. "When you have one company that's willing to take their jobs and move them overseas and get them away from here because they don't want to pay people a living wage, then we don't want you to shop there and give them your money because you're supporting that."

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