Northeast Times

30,000 workers slated for weekend rally

Start­Frag­ment

Uni­on lead­ers are ex­pect­ing 30,000 at a rally in front of the Art Mu­seum on Sat­urday, and their mes­sage should clear to loc­al politi­cians: Don’t take us for gran­ted.

That was the phrase re­peated of­ten at In­ter­na­tion­al Broth­er­hood of Elec­tric­al Work­ers Loc­al 98 headquar­ters on Spring Garden Street dur­ing a Monday news con­fer­ence to pro­mote the Aug. 11 Work­ers Stand for Amer­ica rally.

“The days of tak­ing the labor move­ment for gran­ted are over,” said Loc­al 98 busi­ness man­ager John J. Dougherty.

The lead­ers of sev­er­al Phil­adelphia area uni­on loc­als joined Dougherty in mak­ing com­ments aimed poin­tedly at the Demo­crat­ic Party, al­though the party was nev­er named. Demo­crats were just re­ferred to as “our friends,” and some­times, not in a par­tic­u­larly friendly way.

Speak­ers in­cluded Eliza­beth McEl­roy, Phil­adelphia AFL-CIO Coun­cil sec­ret­ary-treas­urer; Pat Gillespie, Phil­adelphia Build­ing Trades Coun­cil busi­ness man­ager; Jerry Jordan, Phil­adelphia Fed­er­a­tion of Teach­ers pres­id­ent; Frank Snyder, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO sec­ret­ary-treas­urer; Henry Nich­olas, Na­tion­al Uni­on of Hos­pit­al & Health Care Em­ploy­ees pres­id­ent; and City Coun­cil­man Bobby Hen­on, (D-6th dist.), Loc­al 98’s former polit­ic­al dir­ect­or.

Sat­urday’s rally, they said, is the kick­off of a na­tion­al cam­paign to re­fo­cus na­tion­al at­ten­tion on jobs.

It’s no ac­ci­dent that the rally is be­ing held be­fore both the Re­pub­lic­an and Demo­crat­ic na­tion­al con­ven­tions, uni­on lead­ers said, and that Philly was picked be­cause the city is home to the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amend­ments to the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion.

Uni­on­ists have craf­ted their own “second bill of rights:”

• Right to full em­ploy­ment and a liv­ing wage

• Right to full par­ti­cip­a­tion in the elect­or­al pro­cess

• Right to a voice at work

• Right to a qual­ity edu­ca­tion

• Right to a se­cure healthy fu­ture.

Uni­on lead­ers said that they want work­ing people to en­dorse be­fore it is presen­ted to the two ma­jor par­it­ies at their con­ven­tions.

And Dougherty warned politi­cians who don’t sign might get an empty feel­ing.

Those who don’t “will nev­er get an­oth­er dol­lar from Loc­al 98.”

Sat­urday’s rally will be­gin at 11 a.m. at Eakins Oval, across from the Art Mu­seum. ••

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You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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