Honoring Dr. King by Uniting Our AFSCME Voices

Photos from this special event can be seen by clicking here.

This April marked the 49th anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. while he was in Memphis supporting an AFSCME sanitation workers strike. Dr. King went to Memphis in 1968 to call attention to the plight of these workers, who were striking for better wages and working conditions, and recognition of their union.

Earlier this month, AFSCME locals from across south Florida came together to discuss what members could do to honor Dr. King’s legacy through continued efforts on behalf of the working class. Members from locals representing city, county and state workers, including many sanitation workers, from Miami-Dade, Broward and even Palm Beach Counties, broke bread, dug into the issues that united them across locals and watched the documentary “At the River I Stand.”

“As we are approaching a half-century since his death we can’t forget that we don’t face issues local by local but as AFSCME members, as union members, as workers,” said Miguel Garcia and waste collector and member with AFSCME Local 871. “It is these issues that we must use as a call to action today, to fight for dignity and respect for all workers in this country, just as Dr. King did in Memphis and throughout his too-short life.”

The documentary underscored for members how the struggle to protect and advance a strong voice at work is cornerstone for tackling economic, racial and many other issues that are faced in our communities. It traces the events that began as a local strike by AFSCME sanitation workers for human dignity and a living wage and eventually captured national attention and drew Dr. King to Memphis. It was a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement and the national struggle for racial and economic justice.

“The labor movement and the civil rights movement have been intertwined for decades and AFSCME has been there from the beginning, fighting for equal rights and pay for all working Americans,” said Stefanie Brown, a Waste Truck Driver and member with of AFSCME Local 3292. “Now is the time to act, to speak out, to fight for our rights, to strengthen the labor movement, to protect our jobs and our families.”

Photos from this special event can be seen by clicking here.