In continuing the liberal mantra linking blacks' struggle for civil rights to unions' fight to maintain a stranglehold on collective bargaining privileges, the AFL-CIO is rallying its members to organize nationwide "We Are One" protest marches on April 4 -- the 43rd anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr's assassination.
"On April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, where he had gone to stand with sanitation workers demanding their dream: The right to bargain collectively for a voice at work and a better life. The workers were trying to form a union with AFSCME," the union's website reads.
Beginning with worship services over the April 1 weekend, and continuing through the week of April 4, unions, people of faith, civil and human rights activists, students and other progressive allies will host a range of community- and workplace-focused actions.
Join us in solidarity with working people in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and dozens of other states where well-funded, right-wing corporate politicians are trying to take away the rights Dr. King gave his life for: the freedom to bargain, to vote, to afford a college education and justice for all workers, immigrant and native-born. It’s a day to show movement. Teach-ins. Vigils. Faith events. A day to be creative, but clear: We are one.
At the event website, the AFL-CIO encourages union activists to team up with local church congregations to talk about workers' rights during weekend worship services; encourage students and local college educators to discuss the movement; pass out pamphlets and stickers; and "tie the April 4 message to an ongoing organizing campaign" for solidarity.
Contrary to the AFL-CIO's revisionist account, Dr. King traveled to Memphis to voice his support for the black Memphis sanitation workers because they were being paid a fraction of what their white counterparts were. He wasn't demanding higher pay or more vacation time. Workers, King rightly insisted at the time, have the basic right to equality.
Today's union battles are significantly different from King's fight for civil rights. While King demanded equality, today's unions demand wages and benefits financed by taxpayers that are far superior to their private sector counterparts. To equate this modern political squabble with King's fight for racial equality diminishes the civil rights movement and its leaders. The unions should be ashamed for equating the struggle for basic human rights to higher salaries, Cadillac health benefits and posh pension plans.
Fox News' Neil Cavuto spoke with a conservative African American Friday afternoon to get her take on the unions' use of King's legacy to push their agenda. Tea party supporter Lisa Fritsch called the comparison "ugly" and "invalid":