Unions protest Republican attacks

City Comptroller John Liu addressing the union rally outside New York City Hall.
Photos by Tequila Minsky
Photo by Tequila Minsky

A photo of Martin Luther King centered in a red button reads: April 4, 1968, Union Martyr. Another button reads: Labor & Civil Rights, Two Movements, and One Goal.

Dr. King was in Memphis supporting the sanitation workers union when he was assassinated there on this date, 43 years ago. Union leadership chose this date, April 4 for their nation-wide “We are One” rallies and teach-ins. Dr. King fought for union and civil rights, days before his death. These movements have mutual interests.

Across the country, rallies protested Republican-led actions to dismantle the hard-fought gains of the labor movement, bargaining for public employees, particularly Wisconsin and Ohio.

At New York City Hall in the late afternoon on April 4, transportation, sanitation, postal worker, fire, film, actor unions were among the unions rallying. The event was spearheaded by the Communication Workers Union whose members attended in great numbers.

Councilwoman Leticia James roused the crowd in a chant: Union! Force! City Comptroller John Liu spoke in support.

Among the union leadership and other speakers, civil rights activist N.Y. branch President NAACP’s Dr. Annie B. Martin addressed the rally.

She proudly showed the crowd her NAACP T–shirt telling them that she was a veteran of these struggles and that the people were and would be present to fight. She mentioned the Tea Party, reminding them that the union is a force to be reckoned with.

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