40,000 Workers Stand for America
August 13, 2012 10:55 am
The AFL-CIO held their “Workers Stand for America” rally Saturday in Philadelphia, drawing a 40,000- strong crowd of union members and activists converged on Eakins Oval and introducing a second a bill-of-rights focusing on fair wages and the right to unionize.
The event (available to watch in-full here) took place weeks prior to each of the major parties’ national conventions, and speakers took overtly political tones, setting up a dichotomy between Obama and Romney on tax and labor policy. DNC National Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz noted the contrast between the proposed budget of newly appointed Romney running mate Paul Ryan and the economic policies needed by the rank and file and 13 million unemployed: “Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are both top-down and backward for the American worker.” Wasserman went on to urge solidarity and activism, stating: “…this country was born out of organizing and it will be saved by organizing.”
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka echoed these sentiments; the rally itself underscored the labor federation’s increasing focus on grassroots organizing and decision to scale back its presence at this year’s Democratic National Convention. Trumka addressed the crowd: “Work is who we are. But hard work alone never led to decent wages and retirement. It takes hard work — and activism.”
The AFL-CIO will urge politicians to support the Second Bill of Rights at both conventions, and Representative Bob Brady (D.-Penn) stated that he supports the bill and the voice of workers in a post-Wisconsin, post-Citizens United America: “Wisconsin woke up a sleeping giant. You are a sleeping giant! Keep fighting; keep this movement going! Take it down to Washington!”
The Second Bill of Rights calls for:
- Full employment and a living wage
- Full participation in the electoral process
- A voice in the workplace
- A high quality education
- A secure, healthy future
Read more about the bill and the Workers Stand for America rally here.
Image from here