Local 1576

Bring Your Concerns by Danielle Julien Recording Secretary

Labor Day
As Labor Day approaches, we want to look back at those who gave their lives and those who risked their livelihoods for fair and decent working conditions. We know that we in union labor jobs stand on the groundwork they laid and with our own hard work and dedication we build our lives on it. This summer, I had the opportunity to visit the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN, which stands next to the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. The Motel is now a memorial site. He was in Memphis in support of both Labor and the Civil Rights Movement, for the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike. On February 11, 1968, thirteen hundred black Sanitation workers walked off the job to protest horrendous working conditions. The strike lasted two months, and ended with the promise of wage increases and union recognition for the workers. The following quote is from 1965, several years before the strike took place.

"The labor movement was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress. Out of its bold struggles, economic and social reform gave birth to unemployment insurance, old-age pensions, government relief for the destitute and, above all, new wage levels that meant not mere survival but a tolerable life. The captains of industry did not lead this transformation; they resisted it until they were overcome. When in the thirties the wave of union organization crested over the nation, it carried to secure shores not only itself but the whole society." Martin Luther King, Jr. — Speech to the state convention of the Illinois AFL-CIO, October 7, 1965


"The labor movement was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress. Out of its bold struggles, economic and social reform gave birth to unemployment insurance, old-age pensions, government relief for the destitute and, above all, new wage levels that meant not mere survival but a tolerable life. The captains of industry did not lead this transformation; they resisted it until they were overcome. When in the thirties the wave of union organization crested over the nation, it carried to secure shores not only itself but the whole society."
—Speech to the state convention of the Illinois AFL-CIO, Oct. 7, 1965
 

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