Honoring the Life and the Work of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Champion of Civil Rights and Collective Bargaining Rights for All

Jan 16, 2014, 10:39 ET from Pennsylvania AFL-CIO

HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the nation prepares to honor the life and the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO encourages all Pennsylvanians to work toward fulfilling Dr. King's vision and commitment to building unity among all working people regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity in the pursuit of economic and social justice for all.

"Dr. King helped build and lead a non-violent people's movement that brought ordinary people together, from all walks of life, in the pursuit of dignity and equality for every American. They stood together as one voice in ending discrimination and moving our society toward economic and social justice for all," said Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale.  

"Martin Luther King, Jr. not only led the non-violent struggle to end segregation and discrimination, he also helped build a stronger alliance between the labor movement and the civil rights movement. An alliance we continue to build today. He described the labor movement and the civil rights movement as 'the two most dynamic and cohesive forces in the country.' He devoted much of his time and energy in the pursuit of a closer partnership between what he described as 'these two pillars of economic and social justice,'" Bloomingdale said.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis in 1968. He went there to support striking sanitation workers – members of AFSCME Local 1733 – seeking recognition for their union and dignity for all workers. Dr. King was also planning the nationwide Poor People's Campaign, to advocate for jobs, unionization and dignity for all workers.

"Ours is a life of struggle, and while we have achieved progress we understand as Dr. King understood so well, that there are still many miles to go on the road we travel and we know that is a very long road, which will not end in our lifetimes but will be passed along to future generations of workers," Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder said.

"Today millions of unemployed workers continue to struggle to find good jobs, our unions and our collective bargaining rights are under constant attack, poverty is on the rise due to cutbacks in social and human services and income inequality is at its worst since the great depression. Instead of unity we have economic stagnation and political polarization. This is not the world that Martin Luther King, Jr. envisioned," Snyder said.  

"We can fulfill the vision of Martin Luther King, Jr. by joining together to build that dynamic and cohesive alliance in the pursuit of rebuilding our nation, protecting and creating jobs, investing in education, and in recognizing and respecting the rights of all workers to have a voice on the job," Bloomingdale concluded.

SOURCE Pennsylvania AFL-CIO