INDIANAPOLIS – Over a thousand union members and community activists crowded into the Indiana State House on Monday, April 4th to speak out for labor rights and basic democracy.
Chanting “Hear our voice, hear our voice,” they paraded around inside the building past legislators’ offices. The marchers included a stop in front of the Senate chamber, where a session was in progress. Led by Nancy Guyott, president of the Indiana AFL-CIO and Cecil Roberts, president of the United Mine Workers, they demanded a voice in the legislative process and an end to cuts in people-helping programs and an end to the anti-labor offensive.
Guyott told the crowd that hundreds of thousands were marching to commentate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in rallies and marches around the country. “And we are growing stronger,” she said, “and we are fighting back as he taught us.”
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Roberts raised the crowd to a fevered pitch with a dramatic speech pounding rightwing corporate attacks on labor and the people. He also took on racism, which, he said, comes from the same people who champion union busting. He led the crowd in an intense call and response exchange. “You want equality,” he said, the crowd roaring back, “Join a union.” “You want economic justice.” The crowd: “Join a union!”
“We do our best work in the streets,” said Roberts, “and our coalitions are the ones that can turn this country around.”
Photo: Scott Marshall/PW