One of the labor movement’s most celebrated leaders, A. Philip Randolph, an organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, knew the connection between the labor movement and the civil rights movement was key to a truly inclusive democracy. Randolph stood for access at the ballot box as well as to economic security—ideally through a good job with decent benefits and a union.
Today, we find ourselves back in a place where our civil, economic, political and social rights are under constant attack. The violence we see against black youth—the heart-wrenching killing of Trayvon Martin, the homicide of Jordan Davis--the passage of “right to work” laws in states like Michigan, Missouri and Iowa that have deeply racist and divisive roots, and the constant attack on immigrant communities by the current administration affirm we still have work to do.
This summer, one of the oldest and largest civil and human rights organizations, the NAACP, will come to the city of Baltimore for its annual convention and organized labor will be there in force as well. Our struggles are one; our hopes are one; our dreams are one. The past is not dead, it's not even past.
To find out more about the 2017 NAACP Labor Luncheon, go to dclabor.org and click on Calendar.
Here’s today's labor history:
On this date in 1929, the Ford Motor Company signed a "Technical Assistance" contract to produce cars in the Soviet Union, and Ford workers were sent to the Soviet Union to train the labor force in the use of its parts. Many American workers who made the trip, including Walter Reuther, a tool and die maker who later was to become the UAW's president, returned home with a different view of the duties and privileges of the industrial laborer.
In 1937, in what became known as the Memorial Day Massacre, police opened fire on striking steelworkers at Republic Steel in South Chicago, killing ten and wounding more than 160 - 1937
And in 2002, the Ground Zero cleanup at the site of the World Trade Center was completed three months ahead of schedule due to the heroic efforts of more than 3,000 building tradesmen and women who had worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week for the previous eight months.
Today’s labor quote is by A. Philip Randolph, who said
“At the banquet table of nature, there are no reserved seats. You get what you can take, and you keep what you can hold. If you can't take anything, you won't get anything, and if you can't hold anything, you won't keep anything. And you can't take anything without organization.”
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