(audio) “One of the things, a lot of workers, especially at the airport where we have active organizing campaigns have said is that this is one of the reasons why all workers in the United States need a union to speak for them in a time of crisis like this. If these workers didn't have, for example, at the airport where the airlines are lobbying for $60 billion dollars in bailout package, you know, we have about 125,000 contracted workers at the airport, who don't necessarily work directly for the airlines. If it wasn't for the union, these workers would have been left out of the deal that made it to Congress and workers, I think for the most part, understand the importance of the union. And, you know, our organizing campaigns continue.”
SEIU 32BJ Area Director Jaime Contreras.
In today’s labor history, on this date in 1935, members of Gas House Workers’ Union Local 18799 began what would become a four-month recognition strike against the Laclede Gas Light Company in St. Louis. The union later said the strike was the first ever against a public utility in the United States.
Today’s labor quote is by Martin Luther King, Jr., who led a march of striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee on this date in 1968. Violence during the march persuaded him to return the following week to Memphis, where he was assassinated. Martin Luther King, who said:
(audio) “We read one day, we hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But if a man doesn't have a job or an income, he has neither life, nor liberty and the possibility for the pursuit of happiness; he merely exists.”
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