Working People’s Day of Action

Thousands of people plan actions to honor Dr. King’s fight for basic freedom for sanitation workers and protest the rigged economy, just days before Supreme Court will hear case meant to attack working people

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Manhattan, NY – Today, leaders from the women’s and civil rights movements, labor unions, environmental justice groups, religious leaders and others are announcing plans to mobilize in New York City as part of a massive nationwide day of action on February 24. The Working People’s Day of Action, convened by workers’ rights organization Jobs With Justice, will span events in dozens of cities across the country, with tens of thousands expected to join the call for an end to policies that rig the economy and political system against working people.

Inspired by Dr. King and the sanitation workers who went on strike in Memphis 50 years ago, the Working People’s Day of Action comes amid a resurgence in grassroots efforts to defend basic freedoms, including the right to join together in unions.

The Working People’s Day of Action happens just days before the Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, a case funded by billionaires and corporate interests to attack the rights of working people.

In New York City, the Working People’s Day of Action (2/24) will take place at Foley Square, 111 Worth Street, New York City, 11am – 1pm.

New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO President Vincent Alvarez said, “It’s clear that Janus v. AFSCME is a continuation of attacks meant to diminish workers’ ability to have a collective voice on the job.”

Included among the speakers at the New York City event will be Baxter Leach, a longtime AFSCME member and sanitation worker who participated in the 1968 sanitation strike in Memphis, Tenn.

Mario Cilento, President of the New York State AFL-CIO said, “What we want to do is send a powerful message to the rest of the country that here in New York working people clearly understand that the labor movement is the backbone of the middle class. We know that when labor is strong we raise the standard of living and quality of life for all working people through better wages, benefits and working conditions. Make no mistake; the freedom of working men and women to have a voice in the workplace is under an unprecedented attack by conservative ideologues in Washington who are backed by powerful corporations. Here in New York, I guarantee you we will not allow these assaults to silence the voice of working people.”

In addition to New York City, events are already planned in San Diego, Memphis, Washington DC, Miami, Chicago, Detroit, Saint Paul, Columbus and Philadelphia.

The day of action is intended to advance the unfinished work of Dr. King and spark political momentum throughout New York State and across the country heading into the 2018 elections and beyond.

“In 1968, poor, striking sanitation workers in Memphis, TN paved the way to empowerment in a struggle that Rev. Martin Luther King died for. Fifty years later, the struggle continues as deep-pocketed corporate titans and the elected officials who do their bidding try to set back the clock on labor rights and civil rights,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido.

As billionaires and corporate special interests, aided by the Trump Administration and Republicans in Congress, ramp up efforts to scale back labor and voting rights, and the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 case, recent reports indicate that the economic and political systems continue to enrich only a few. Meanwhile, fewer than 40 percent of Americans can afford a minor emergency and more than 80 percent of the world’s wealth is going to the top one percent.

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