Letter to the Editor – The American Way
July 5, 2011
Dear AFSCME Sisters and Brothers,
Our great country celebrates 235 years of independence this weekend, but it's America's future that's on our minds this Fourth of July.
Are we going to listen to those who want to shrink what's left of the middle class and hurt working families? Or are we going to build a Main Street Movement and stand up for decent wages and benefits, the rights of workers to bargain collectively and for decent health care and education for all?
We're going to stand up and fight back, of course.
Just this morning in Ohio, the We Are Ohio campaign held a Peoples Parade through downtown Columbus to celebrate the gathering of nearly 1.3 MILLION
petition signatures to repeal SB 5-the anti-collective bargaining bill. A semi truck carried the 1,502 boxes of petitions along the parade route. The 1,298,301 signatures surpassed by over a million the number required to get
this citizens veto on the ballot.
We're fighting back everywhere; In New Jersey, record crowds turned out in Trenton to speak out against Governor Christie's recently passed plan to end
collective bargaining and cut crucial state services. Despite the setback, the workers have sent a loud message to state lawmakers facing re-election that they will remember in November.
In Wisconsin, six state senators face August recall elections-after hundreds of thousands of citizens signed recall petitions during a labor-driven push to return the state Senate to control of those who stand with working families.
In Michigan, where a law was passed that strips local communities and public employees of their basic rights to self-governance and collective bargaining, a massive signature gathering effort is underway to place the "Local Dictator" law on the ballot for a November referendum.
All over the country, a Main Street Movement is building for strong public services and a strong middle class. One thing you can do right now is show that you are a proud public service worker and union member. Unions helped make this country great, and there's no better time than Fourth of July to share that fact with everyone you know.
Download a "Collective Bargaining is the American Way" poster to proudly display this Fourth of July weekend. Click here: http://www.afscme.org/july4
The poster is a replica of one used in the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers strike, when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood shoulder-to-shoulder with AFSCME workers who marched to win recognition of their union.
Just like in 1968, standing up for our rights starts with conversations between you and your extended family, your neighbors, your fellow parishioners, and the merchants where you shop. The anti-worker attacks this year have seized America's attention. Now, maybe for the first time in a generation, people are beginning to hear our story. And what better time to tell your story-about why unions matter, how they protect the middle class and make our country great-than at a Fourth of July picnic or gathering this weekend.
And of course, there's nothing more patriotic than voting. While November ma**y seem like a long time away, it's not. Contribute to PEOPLE, our political action fund, and help us vote these corporate-backed politicians out of office in November. Click here: https://afl.salsalabs.com/o/4002/c/51/p/salsa/donation/common/public/?donate _page_KEY=7068&tag=advE_july4_blast-42243&track=advE_july4_blast-42243
Our great union has withstood challenges like this for 75 years, and each time we have emerged strong and more resolute. Thanks for everything you've
done and will continue to do to help us fight for workers rights and the middle class. And happy Independence Day!
Gerald W. McEntee
Lee A. Saunders