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Workers rally, honor Dr. King

By Ron Whitehorne on Apr 5, 2011 07:01 PM
Photo: Ron Whitehorne

Marching down Broad St.

Labor flexed its muscle all across the country this April 4, the anniversary of the slaying of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as he stood with striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tenn.

The “We Are One” demonstrations throughout the country demanded an end to the attacks on collective bargaining and the living standards of working people by right wing politicians and corporations.

Here in Philadelphia hundreds of workers rallied on the steps of the Liacouras Center on the Temple Campus. The Corbett administration’s cuts to both the K-12 school budget and higher education were denounced by union leaders. “We are not going to let them take a wrecking ball to schools,” AFT president Randy Weingarten told the crowd.

Both Weingarten and AFL-CIO central labor council president Pat Eiding took up the theme of building unity with the community. “Labor can’t do it alone,” Eiding said. “We have to be talking to the community.” Some students, ex-offenders in prison jumpsuits, and at least one community organization, ACTION United, joined trade unionists. 

Public school and university workers made up a large part of the crowd. Among the unions who turned out were 1199 Hospital Workers; SEIU; UNITE HERE; PASNAP, the nurses and hospital techs union; and AFT, both its public school and university affiliates. Jobs With Justice, a labor and community coalition, was also a major presence. 

As the rally ended, the crowd, instead of dispersing, marched down Broad Street chanting and waving signs to rush hour traffic. Judging from the cars beeping horns in solidarity, marchers are not alone in their opposition to the Corbett budget.

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Comments (8)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 5, 2011 1:13 pm

You neglected to mention that Philadelphia Student Union was also there. Their student speaker did an excellent job. I wanted to note this because he was the only speaker representing high school students, and I think the student voice was an essential piece of what made this rally successful.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 5, 2011 1:58 pm

You neglected to mention that Philadelphia Student Union was also there. Their student speaker did an excellent job. I wanted to note this because he was the only speaker representing high school students, and I think the student voice was an essential piece of what made this rally successful.

Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on April 5, 2011 2:00 pm

 Sorry.   I arrived late because of traffic and missed some of the speakers.   Thanks for this addition.

Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on April 5, 2011 2:18 pm

 Sorry.   I arrived late because of traffic and missed some of the speakers.   Thanks for this addition.

Submitted by Taxpayers (not verified) on April 5, 2011 3:48 pm

Ex offenders in prison jumpsuits? The public unions might want to consider more closely who they are aligning themselves with. Perhaps they will be able to find some local citizens who actually pay taxes and who are not a net drain on the system to support tax increases for the gilded pay and benefits packages of the union employees.

Submitted by Mary Del Savio (not verified) on April 5, 2011 7:05 pm

Last time I checked, union members pay taxes. So do employed ex-offenders, so...

Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on April 5, 2011 8:07 pm

 I hope our unions embrace the cause of ex offenders who can't find work and all the others who have been disenfranchised, excluded, and put down by the plutocracy that Taxpayer and his ilk pay homage to everyday on this blog.   Then, perhaps, wealth and power will be redistributed to benefit working people.   Taxpayer will really have something to complain about then.

Submitted by Jim Hardy (not verified) on April 7, 2011 10:24 pm

Unlike corporations and the ultrarich who conveniently manage NOT to pay taxes. Talk about gilded pay and benefits...

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