Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Guest column: They stood their ground for respect » The Commercial Appeal

By Chad Johnson and Lee Saunders, Chad Johnson is executive director of AFSCME Local 1733 of Memphis. Lee Saunders is secretary-treasurer of AFSCME International.

The Commercial Appeal, April 4, 2012

Today marks the 44th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the strike by the sanitation workers of AFSCME Local 1733 -- two events that changed America and forever linked civil rights and workers' rights. For the members of AFSCME in Memphis and across the country, this is a day that holds special significance. The events we will commemorate represent both a high-water mark in our fight to ensure that all workers have a voice, and a violent end for a truth-telling, eloquent leader who was simultaneously one of our nation's greatest champions and fiercest critics. This year also marks the 75th anniversary of AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The state workers of Wisconsin who formed our union at the height of the Great Depression wanted the basics: better pay and better working conditions. But, just like the sanitation workers who went on strike in Memphis in 1968, they also wanted respect.

Guest column: They stood their ground for respect » The Commercial Appeal

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