Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hey Bill Gates, MLK has a message for you

Bill Gates could use a history lesson from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Gates, who co-founded Microsoft, is now the majority shareholder of Republic/Allied Waste.

Gates says he wants to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty through his charitable organization, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. And yet he's endangering communities and pushing his employees toward poverty through his stewardship of Republic/Allied Waste.

Perhaps Gates' confusion stems from his ignorance of history. He did, after all, drop out of Harvard. So he may not be aware that Dr. King was assassinated during the Memphis sanitation workers' strike. He may not know that Dr. King died fighting the same kind of injustice that's being perpetrated on Republic/Allied Waste workers and their communities.

Republic is trying to destroy Teamsters pensions across the country. In Bridgeton, Mo., Republic is endangering the community by refusing to clean up a burning landfill that's close to two illegal nuclear waste dump sites.

Republic Services Teamsters are fighting back against the company's abuse of its workers and their communities. They'll attend an EPA hearing about the burning landfill in Missouri tomorrow night. On Monday, they'll march in MLK Day parades in Seattle and Atlanta.

Six months before he was assassinated, Dr. King told the Illinois AFL-CIO convention that the labor movement (not the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) was the primary force that lifted people from poverty:
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.
We suggest Bill Gates watch the excellent one-hour documentary above. It's about the Memphis sanitation workers' strike.

And then we suggest he examine his conscience.