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Union Rally in Abingdon, Virginia
by Lewis Loflin
At 6:01 p.m. on April 4, 1968, a shot rang out. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who had been standing on the balcony of his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN, now lay sprawled on the balcony's floor. A gaping wound covered a large portion of his jaw and neck. A great man who had spent thirteen years of his life dedicating himself to nonviolent protest had been felled by a sniper's bullet...
In 2011 in Abingdon, Virginia April 4th was remembered as about 50-60 people held a small rally in memory of Dr. King. Present were some civil rights activists, local CWA 2204, and the Virginia Organizing Project I was part of.
In one of the most hostile region in the nation towards labor and working people some were asking why don't workers deserve a living wage and a middle class standard of living? Indeed in a year where labor is under attack at all levels and in particular state efforts to bust unions, that's an important question. In Virginia, a so-called "right to work" state, public unions are outlawed.
In this region an IT worker earns as little as 40% of the state average even for these kinds of fairly high skilled jobs. Why is a worker in our region always paid less than the very same job in other parts of Virginia?
I don't like much of what some unions do, but the fact is they are the only counter-balance against business abuse and power. Unions often bring up the standard of living for the entire community and as they have declined in recent years so has the standard of living for all blue collar workers, what few can even get a job anymore.
CWA 2204 has my full support.
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