Monday, January 16, 2012

Teamsters honor MLK, dignity of labor

Teamsters supported the Poor People's Campaign. Here, James R. Hoffa hands a check for $25,000 to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 
Teamsters all over the country are celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King today. International Vice President Al Mixon, for example, will be Grand Marshall at this year’s King Week Holiday March and Rally in Atlanta.

Dr. King, a strong supporter of the labor movement, believed the path to economic freedom and social justice were the same. Said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa,
The history of the labor movement is uniquely and intimately tied with the history of the civil rights movement. The two go hand-in-hand.
angry bear posts an account of the Memphis sanitation workers' strike, Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination and the aftermath. Called Garbage and Labor, he writes,
February 1968, 1,300 Sanitation Workers of Memphis went on strike for better working conditions and benefits, doing so with little support from the International AFSCME. Forced to carry poorly contained garbage in 60 gallon leaking and maggot infested containers from the backs of yards, the workers struck for safer working conditions, healthcare, etc. Angered by the deaths of two of their fellow workers and the sending home of 22 black sewer workers while white workers continued working the union led by T. O Jones walked out. Crushed to death when the garbage truck’s faulty controls activated the hydraulic ram, the two workers were seeking shelter from a rain storm inside the back end of the truck as there was nowhere else they were allowed to go. The city paid each of the dead worker's families $500 plus 1 month’s pay. The average wage of the sanitation worker was $.33/hour...
For the dignity of the men who would haul garbage, for the dignity of African Americans, for the dignity of all of those living in poverty, and for those who would labor; Martin Luther King gave his life.