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Rally to Support American Labor

4/4/2011

On April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, where he had gone to stand with sanitation workers demanding their dream—the right to bargain collectively for a voice at work and a better life.

Forty-three years later, on April 2, 2011, a group of about 2,000, including several hundred educators, gathered on the steps of Utah’s Capitol to remember that dream and to stand in solidarity with working people in other states where well-funded organizations are attacking the rights for which Dr. King gave his life.

“The attacks being waged on middle Americans and unions are about politics not economics,” said UEA President Sharon Gallagher-Fishbuagh, speaking at the rally. “America is great because of the working class. It was working class Americans who built our railroads, our infrastructure, our schools, our hospitals, our America! Yet, there are those whose mission is to silence the voice of workers across the country and diminish the success of schools, hospitals, nursing homes and other public entities. We will not be silenced.”

Participants displayed signs reading “We are one!” and “Speak for Tomorrow Today!” among others. The rally was organized by a group of Utah labor organizations, led by the Utah AFL-CIO. Speakers included Jeanetta Williams, NAACP; Phil Rodriquez, Branch 111 of the National Association of Letter Carriers, Linda Petersen, Utah Foundation for Open Government; Diane Lewis, Laborers Local 295; Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh, UEA; Glenn Bailey, Crossroad Urban Center; and Jim Judd, Utah AFL-CIO.

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