Union Activists Will Be Honoring the Life and the Work of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the AFL-CIO's National Holiday Observance in Philadelphia from January 17 to 21, 2013

Jan 17, 2013, 17:08 ET from Pennsylvania AFL-CIO

Over 500 Union Activists from across the Nation Will be Participating in Workshops, Forums and Rallies

HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale and Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder encourages all of Pennsylvania's working families to honor Dr. King's life, his courage, and his commitment to civil rights and collective bargaining rights for all workers.

Mr. Bloomingdale and Mr. Snyder will be participating in the 2013 AFL-CIO Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Observance to be held at the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown, 201 North 17th Street, Philadelphia from Thursday, January 17, through Monday, January 21, 2013. Over 500 union activists from across the country will be participating in workshops, forums and rallies in honor of Dr. King's life and his work.  Arlene Holt Baker, Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO will be welcoming participants to the Opening Session on Thursday evening, January 17, which will begin at 6:00 P.M.

"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 inequality and moving our society toward economic and social justice for all," President Bloomingdale said.

"Martin Luther King, Jr. was not only a leader in the civil rights movement, ending segregation and discrimination in education and voting rights, he was also a champion of collective bargaining rights for all workers. He understood, as we do, that civil rights and collective bargaining rights go hand-in-hand in ending poverty, racial inequality, growing the middle class and building a stronger nation. He devoted his life in building these two pillars of economic and social justice," Bloomingdale said.

Dr. King was in the midst of building an alliance between the civil rights movement and the labor movement when he was assassinated in 1968. He was in Memphis to support striking sanitation workers – members of AFSCME Local 1733 – and was planning the national Poor People's Campaign, advocating for jobs, unionization, and dignity for all workers.

"Today we are not moving closer to the vision that Dr.King devoted his life: the realization of the American Dream for millions of working families," Secretary-Treasurer Snyder added. "Millions of unemployed workers can't find jobs, our unions and collective bargaining rights are attacked, our right to vote is being challenged, poverty is increasing, income inequality is at its worse since the great depression and the middle class is shrinking.  This is not the world that Martin Luther King, Jr. challenged us to create for ourselves and future generations.  It's not the world we envision for our families and our children," Snyder said. 

"We can fulfill the vision of Martin Luther King, Jr. by coming together and taking action for the common good in rebuilding our nation, protecting and creating jobs, investing in education, and in recognizing and respecting the rights of workers to have a voice on the job," Bloomingdale concluded.

There will also be a "Hold Mayor Nutter Accountable" rally featuring the Rev. Al Sharpton, AFT President Randi Weingarten, and AFSCME International President Lee Saunders. Joining them will be several area labor leaders representing teachers and school employees, city workers, firefighters, and police. The rally will be held on Saturday, January 19, 2012 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 Noon at Independence Mall. The Philadelphia Jobs with Justice Coalition is organizing the rally.  

SOURCE Pennsylvania AFL-CIO