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When Public Employees Were Under Attack, Martin Luther King Stood With The Workers

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Better Believe It Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 02:52 PM
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When Public Employees Were Under Attack, Martin Luther King Stood With The Workers


When Public Employees Were Under Attack, Rev. King Stood With The Workers
John Nichols
January 17, 2011

King, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning campaigner for economic and social justice whose legacy we celebrate with a holiday that falls on Jan. 17 this year, died while supporting the right of public employees to organize labor unions and to fight for the preservation of public services.

That inconvenient truth is sometimes obscured by pop historians, who would have us believe that King was merely a "civil rights leader." King's was a comprehensive activism that extended far beyond the boundaries of the movement to end segregation. His most famous address, the "I Have a Dream" speech, was delivered at the 1963 "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom" a historic event that explicitly linked the social and economic demands of campaigners for civil rights and economic justice.

And King always saw that linkage as being well-expressed arguably best expressed in the struggles of public employees and their unions for dignity, fair pay, fair benefits and a recognition of the contributions made by those who collect our garbage, clean our streets, police our communities, protect our environment, care for our aged and infirm family members, teach our children and deliver our mail.

It was to that end that King made his last journey, at the age of 39, to march with and campaign on behalf of members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union in Memphis, Tenn., in April of 1968.

Read the full article at:

http://www.thenation.com/blog/157816/when-public-employees-were-under-attack-rev-king-stood-workers



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upi402 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 02:53 PM
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1. A true labor supporter, now on that mountaintop. n/t
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Kingofalldems Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 02:55 PM
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2. K and R
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 02:56 PM
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3. kr
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 02:59 PM
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4. K&R
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DrDan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 03:01 PM
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5. k&r
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old mark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 03:04 PM
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6. K&R- Who is standing with us today?....nt
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 03:04 PM
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7. This concept is foreign to Republicans, and
they're attacking unions at the state level.

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inna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 03:27 PM
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8. kr
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leftstreet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 03:29 PM
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9. K&R
Great piece!
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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 03:38 PM
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10. K&R!

When a striking teenager was covered with gas and set on fire, Dr. King went to Memphis to help. His return to Memphis cost him his life.

Strike video here: http://www.afscme.org/about/17418.cfm?bcpid=1386354357&bclid=1386739253&bctid=1487042222




http://www.afscme.org/press/34006.cfm

For IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friday, January 14, 2011
Martin Luther King and Public Employees

Statement of AFSCME President Gerald W. McEntee to commemorate the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday

Had he not been felled by an assassins bullet, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would have been 82 this year. On the night before his death in 1968, Dr. King spoke in Memphis to workers who were trying to earn a decent living and provide for their families. They were sanitation workers, public employees, the men who collect the daily garbage. They were members of AFSCME Local 1733.

For months those men faced enormous opposition to their efforts to organize. They were opposed by the men who controlled the city government. They had few allies in the business community. They faced accusations of being led by radicals and communists. They suffered terrible violence. When Dr. King led a march in support of the union in March of 1968, the police challenged the crowd with nightsticks, mace, tear gas and gunfire. A 16-year-old boy, Larry Payne, was shot to death.

Dr. King understood that public employees sanitation workers, road crews, police, teachers, fire fighters, nurses and others deserved the same rights as all workers. They had a right to organize and bargain collectively. He knew that strong unions helped all workers, by expanding opportunity and increasing salaries. He said that throughout the history of our country, the labor movement was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress. He said: The captains of industry did not lead this transformation; they resisted it until they were overcome.

That was true in the past and it remains true today. While billions of dollars are given in tax breaks for the very wealthiest among us, corporate and political leaders demand even greater cuts in programs that provide care to veterans, educate our youth, and provide protection from crime for our communities. Across the country today, unions and public employees face enormous attacks. Efforts are underway to eliminate collective bargaining, cut workers pay and benefits, and reduce modest pensions for public employees in countless states.

We must work together to protect the progress that has been made. As we do, let us draw strength from the words he spoke to the members of AFSCME Local 1733 on his last night in Memphis: Whenever you are engaged in work that serves humanity and is for the building of humanity, it has dignity and it has worth.

AFSCMEs 1.6 million members provide the vital services that make America happen. With members in hundreds of different occupations from nurses to corrections officers, child care providers to sanitation workers AFSCME advocates for fairness in the workplace, excellence in public services and prosperity and opportunity for all working families.



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Better Believe It Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 05:21 PM
Response to Original message
11. Honor Dr. Martin Luther King by defending public workers and their unions


Honor King by defending public workers

Madison Capital Times editorial
January 12, 2011

King, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning campaigner for economic and social justice whose legacy we celebrate with a holiday that falls on Jan. 17 this year, died while supporting the right of public employees to organize labor unions and to fight for the preservation of public services.

That inconvenient truth is sometimes obscured by pop historians, who would have us believe that King was merely a "civil rights leader." King's was a comprehensive activism that extended far beyond the boundaries of the movement to end segregation. His most famous address, the "I Have a Dream" speech, was delivered at the 1963 "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom" a historic event that explicitly linked the social and economic demands of campaigners for civil rights and economic justice.

And King always saw that linkage as being well-expressed arguably best expressed in the struggles of public employees and their unions for dignity, fair pay, fair benefits and a recognition of the contributions made by those who collect our garbage, clean our streets, police our communities, protect our environment, care for our aged and infirm family members, teach our children and deliver our mail.

No one should miss the fact that AFSCME, the union that they joined and the union with which King worked so closely, is now under attack by right-wingers who would have us believe that public workers are to blame for the problems that occur when policymakers blow the budget on tax cuts for the rich, bailouts for big banks and military adventures abroad.

Please read the full newspaper editorial at:

http://host.madison.com/ct/news/opinion/editorial/article_13ab57bc-f99c-5dd3-b975-4b8cd7f21dd2.html



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