Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King: Champion of Collective Bargaining Rights

Jan 12, 2012, 16:01 ET from Pennsylvania AFL-CIO

HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale and Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder encourage all Pennsylvanians to honor the vision and the leadership of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and continue their commitment to making his Dream a reality for every worker across the world.

"Dr. King's vision and courage inspires us as we continue to pursue equality, dignity, economic and social justice for all citizens," President Bloomingdale said.  "We join in honoring Dr. King's achievements in fighting hatred and intolerance, and in honoring the principles and ideals he articulated; non-violence, civil rights, justice, dignity, and a more humanitarian society."

"Dr. King was a champion for civil rights, but some people don't realize he was also a champion for collective bargaining rights," Bloomingdale continued. "Dr. King understood, as we do, that workers' rights and civil rights are inseparable."

Dr. King's support for striking sanitation workers – members of AFSCME Local 1733 – brought him to Memphis in April 1968. On the day before his assassination in that city, he lauded struggling workers, telling them that they "are engaged in work that serves humanity … it has dignity and it has worth." 

"Today, the same collective bargaining rights that Dr. King stood and died for are under attack by right-wing-funded politicians in state capitols around the country," Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder emphasized. "As Indiana prepares for the Super Bowl, their Governor prepares to attack collective bargaining, using a twisted anti-worker playbook."

Dr. King's defense of workers' rights was no game. He paid the supreme price for his actions. As we honor this great champion of collective bargaining rights, we are reminded of his words:

"In all our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, as 'Right-To-Work.'  It provides no 'rights' and no 'work.'  Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining…We also demand this fraud be stopped."

SOURCE Pennsylvania AFL-CIO