Members of union locals all over the country are laying plans now to make April 4th a day to remember at the nation’s workplaces.
Many thousands will show up at work that day wearing red to show solidarity with workers whose rights are under attack in Wisconsin and other states where Republicans were recently elected to state governorships.
When the clock strikes 12 noon in New Hampshire, Ohio, Colorado and California, workers will stand up at their workplaces and shout, “Workers’ Rights are Human Rights.”
In Maine, Indiana, Illinois, New Mexico and Oregon, workers will march into their workplaces together, rather than arriving at the more gradual, usual pace.
In many places they will head to their corporate headquarters and rally; still others will hold teach-ins. Many places will see quite a bit more than the usual amount of union literature plastered on their bulletin boards.
And then, too, there are the city and state Capitols inhabited by Republican lawmakers seeking to balance budgets on the backs of working families. They are also expected to be swamped by demonstrators eager to follow the lead of their co-workers in Wisconsin, Indiana , Ohio and elsewhere.
Talking about the coming national labor mobilization, Communications Workers of America President Larry Cohen said, “42 years after the death of Dr. King, the struggle for economic justice continues. An important part of the national mobilization we are planning will be to have unions and civil rights groups and all of our allies take this struggle for justice into the workplaces of America.”
April 4 was chosen as the day for the mobilization, because, on that day in 1968, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn. while campaigning for the rights of 1,300 sanitation workers, almost all of them African-American, to organize and bargain as members of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees.
The Communications Workers of America, with the backing of the AFL-CIO, has called for a national “No Business As Usual Day of Action” on April 4.
In Wisconsin, it is expected that demonstrations at the state Capitol in Madison will rival, or even surpass those that have occurred throughout the last month. Although there will be rallies and large marches all over the country, the ones in states where Republican governors and lawmakers have mounted attacks on collective bargaining rights are expected to be huge.
Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, has said that the actions on April 4 will be “another example” of how Republicans who attack working families have helped mobilize a powerful response from the labor movement.