Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Rural residents raise hell at Moral Monday protest

Scores of Moral Monday protesters came to tiny Yadkinville, N.C., last night to fight the repressive anti-worker policies approved by Gov. Pat McCrory and his legislative allies this year. The rally was the 19th such event held since late April. Nearly 1,000 people were arrested at weekly protests held in the state capital earlier this year.

Laid-off worker Philip Diehl addresses crowd at rally.
Jobs and education were again at the top of the agenda for demonstrators. Several said the event gave those living in rural North Carolina the chance to have their voices heard in Raleigh. They oppose decisions to cut unemployment benefits and public education and the failure to expand Medicaid coverage for 600,000 residents.

Philip Diehl, who was laid off his job with Freightliner Trucks, said workers are hurting while McCrory doles out fat salaries to his staff. Protesters are just trying to make a difference, he told the Winston-Salem Journal:
You are fed up with the way things are going. You are trying to peacefully change things.
Christopher Petree, president of the Yakin County Association of Educators, tweeted that the governor and the Legislature are motivating the public to action:

Shout out to the @NCLeg and @PatMcCroryNC for bringing out the activist in me. You all know how to rally the masses!
The event closed with a candlelight vigil to remember all state residents who have been damaged by the extreme policies approved by lawmakers this year.

Week after week, North Carolina residents are pushing back on an agenda crafted by state budget director Art Pope, a multimillionaire who helped underwrite the campaigns of Gov. McCrory and his cronies in the Legislature. It is largely modeled on the pro-corporate, anti-worker platform of the American Legislative Exchange Council.
And more demonstrations are expected. In addition to the ongoing Moral Monday events, North Carolina teachers are currently mulling whether to hold a statewide walkout Nov. 4 to protest policy changes and poor working conditions in the classroom.

Stay tuned.