MLK

Remembering Dr. King

January 15, 2020 // 0 Comments

BY DIANE S. WILLIAMS On the 91st anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth January 15, we reflect on his life’s pursuit of liberty, justice, equality for all and service to others. Dr. King’s life was cut short in 1968 at the age of 39 in Memphis, Tennessee. At the invitation of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME, DC 37’s national union), Dr. King traveled to support Black sanitation workers who were striking for fair wages, safe working conditions and the right to belong to a union. AFSCME pressed Dr. King to speak to Local 1733 members who daily bore humiliations and earned poverty wages. The last speech he ever gave, in which he famously declared that he had “been to the mountaintop,” was to the striking workers at the Mason Temple in Memphis. He embraced labor’s cause as a microcosm of the struggles his upcoming Poor [More...]

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

March 24, 2019 // 1 Comment

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. went to Memphis, Tennessee, in the spring of 1968 to make good on a promise to workers. Earlier that year, two Memphis sanitation workers, Echol Cole and Robert Walker, had sought shelter from a torrential rain in the back of a garbage truck. When the vehicle’s compressor malfunctioned, they were crushed to death. Memphis Mayor Henry Loeb and the city offered cold comfort — no compensation or death benefit for the families. At the time, Memphis’ 1,300 black sanitation workers earned 65 cents an hour with no benefits, overtime, or rights. The indignities heaped on them led to their membership in AFSCME Local 1733 and a strike for wages, human dignity, and union recognition. The workers carried signs that read, “I AM A MAN.” Their cause was a microcosm of the struggles Dr. King’s upcoming Poor People’s Campaign embraced. “If [More...]

Remembering Dr. King

January 21, 2019 // 0 Comments

“No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. BY DIANE S. WILLIAMS Dr. Martin Luther King engaged in struggle to move America towards its better self, to will a people to become united, and use its power, spirit and economic ability to realize its potential more fully, to eradicate poverty and to end injustice. Had King lived he would have been 90 years old Jan. 15. As an architect of the civil rights movement, King urged all Americans to work for the greater good for all. He said, “Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.” ASFCME and District Council 37 remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was martyred in Memphis while fighting for Sanitation workers. King aligned himself with labor’s [More...]