Posts Tagged ‘Martin Luther King Jr.’

Pausing to remember Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy

Today, every member of the SMART union will take time, in conjunction with our entire nation, to honor and remember the life and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

King’s brilliance, vision, leadership and ultimate personal sacrifice shifted the course of American history by shedding light and bringing hope to a nation marred by racism, ignorance and inequality.

“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision for a more just and fair society was driven by a belief that America can and should be a place where all people prosper together. By focusing on what unites us, rather than what divides us, Dr. King showed us there is strength in unity, and taught us the immeasurable power working people have when they join together,” said Larry I. Willis, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD).

“Though it has been more than 50 years since his tragic and untimely passing, Dr. King’s call for positive change through collective action resonates as strongly today as it did when he walked this Earth. We see it in the teachers of Los Angeles who have taken to the streets to protest growing class sizes and inadequate funding. We see it in the tens of thousands of furloughed federal employees and their allies who continue to rally, leaflet, picket, and advocate for a strong, stable, and fully funded government. And we see it in workers across the country who came together to form and join unions in the last year to raise standards for themselves and their communities.

“As our nation pauses to reflect upon the life and teachings of Dr. King, transportation labor is proud to recommit to our efforts to carry his life’s work and legacy forward. Today, and every day, we stand up for the principles of strength through unity by fighting for laws that encourage and empower working people to join together and building a labor movement that will transform misery and despair into hope and progress.”

King’s work and his words brought the promise of justice, hope and freedom to people of color and to the oppressed everywhere. His words still ring as powerfully, relevant and true today as they did more than 50 years ago:

“And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

–- From Martin Luther King’s historic speech delivered Aug. 28, 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.

Read King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in its entirety here.

Watch highlights of King’s speech.

The National Civil Rights Museum created a website marking the 50th anniversary of King’s assassination, which occurred in Memphis while he was supporting union workers.

REMEMBERING MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.

Today, every member of the SMART union will pause with our entire nation in honor, solidarity and remembrance of the life and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

King’s brilliance, vision, leadership and ultimate personal sacrifice shifted the course of American history by shedding light and bringing hope to a nation marred by racism, ignorance and inequality.

“Today we pause to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his vision for a more fair and just society. Recognizing that the struggles for social and economic justice are one and the same, Dr. King saw union representation as the clearest path out of poverty and into the middle class. He understood that by coming together and focusing on what unites us, rather than what divides us, working people can make life better for themselves, their families and their communities,” said Larry I. Willis, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD).

“Those beliefs led Dr. King to Memphis, Tennessee, in the spring of 1968, where he proudly stood shoulder to shoulder with the city’s striking sanitation workers. As we now know, this act of solidarity would end in tragedy.”

“As our nation prepares to reflect upon the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s tragic and untimely passing, we cannot and must not forget the ideals he fought and died for — including access to good jobs, fair pay, and safe working conditions — are the same things working people are fighting for today. With middle-class families under attack and special interests bound and determined to erode workers’ rights, Dr. King’s teachings are just as important now as they were 50 years ago,” Willis said. “Transportation labor is proud to carry on Dr. King’s legacy. We pledge today to continue standing up for working families by fighting for an economy that works for everyone and building a labor movement that has the power to ‘transform misery and despair into hope and progress.’ ”

King’s work and his words brought the promise of justice, hope and freedom to people of color and to the oppressed everywhere. His words still ring as powerfully, relevant and true today as they did more than 50 years ago:

“And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

–- From Martin Luther King’s historic speech delivered Aug. 28, 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.

Read King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in its entirety here.

Watch highlights of King’s speech.

Read an article about King and his connections with labor.

Remembering Dr. King

Dr. King

On Monday, January 16, 2017, every member of the SMART union will stand with our entire nation in honor, solidarity and remembrance of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. King’s brilliance, vision, leadership and ultimate personal sacrifice shifted the course of American history forever by shedding light and bringing hope to a nation marred by racism, ignorance and inequality.

His work and his words brought the promise of justice, hope and freedom to African Americans, to people of color, and to the oppressed everywhere.

Dr. King’s words still ring as powerful, relevant and true today as they did more than 50 years ago.

“And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

–From Dr. Martin Luther King’s historical speech, “I Have a Dream,” delivered August 28, 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.

Read Dr. King’s speech in its entirety, here.

MLK advocated economic opportunity, trade unions

By Calvin Studivant
Alternate Vice President, Bus Department

As we follow the demonstrations of the 99 percent against the greed and wealth of America’s
top one percent, I am reminded of a 1967 speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in which Dr. King advocated a transformation “from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society.”

Each day jobs are exported from our shores, layoffs are announced, health care insurance is cancelled or scaled back, and pension plans are eliminated, I feel the pain of the millions of fellow Americans who are fit, willing and able to work, yet unable to find jobs — or, if they do, cannot earn enough to support a family, much less afford adequate medical care. They, and we, are rightfully angry when corporate profits become the most important objective.

Unemployment numbers hardly reflect the full pain in America, because unemployment numbers do not reflect the millions more who, after years of searching for a job, simply gave up looking, or the millions more in part-time employment without benefits because they are unable to find full-time jobs.

How much more painful it is to realize that employers, emboldened by the worker pain of our times, are using economic hardship to frighten those with jobs against voting “union, yes” in the workplace.

In Congress, we see lawmakers more interested in protecting tax breaks for the very wealthy than passing stimulus measures to put Americans back to work; and proposing legislation making it more difficult to join labor unions.

It is unconscionable that Congress eliminated funding for high-speed rail construction that could relieve the intolerable congestion at airports and on highways and create thousands of new jobs.

It is equally unconscionable that Congress resists requests for more flexible transit funding to allow a shift in budgets from buying new equipment to using some of those funds to retain and expand existing service that would end transit system layoffs.

As we celebrate Dr. King’s legacy this month, let us realize that he advocated not only racial harmony, but economic opportunity and trade unionism.

In response to anti-union politicians and employers, Dr. King preached: “In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, as ‘right-to-work.’ It provides no ‘rights’ and no ‘works.’ Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining. We demand this fraud be stopped.”

As we approach Election Day this November, let us unite in support of labor-friendly candidates. Let us support our UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund and our UTU PAC. Let us do this in the non-violent but aggressive spirit of Dr. King.

The strength of working families today is at the ballot box. There is so much at stake, for ourselves, for our families and for the millions of Americans seeking a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. United in solidarity we can make a difference with our votes. There is  no better, more productive and more effective way to honor Dr. King’s legacy.