Big news – on February 12, we’re striking and protesting to honor the legacy of the 1968 sanitation workers. We will also carry this movement forward by organizing six weeks of direct action with the Poor People’s Campaign.
The day marks fifty years since sanitation workers in Memphis kicked off a historic strike to demand higher pay and to join the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 1733, marching with Martin Luther King Jr.
Now, we carry on the same fight. In 1968, 40% of Memphis sanitation workers qualified for public assistance; in 2018 52% of fast food workers are on public assistance.
Just like the sanitation workers in 1968, low wage workers today are fighting the same battle today: living wages, respect on the job and union rights.
This year, on 2/12, hundreds of workers in Memphis will walk off the job to demand $15/hour and union rights, with our very own signs demanding that the boss recognize our humanity.
It was a huge moment in national history – the mayor at the time, Henry Loeb, declared martial law and mobilized close to thousands of National Guard troops and state police to fight the workers. Read about the full timeline of events here.
Despite the violence that ensued, two weeks later the sanitation workers declared VICTORY. The city agreed to increase wages and recognize their union – all thanks to the persistence and determination of the workers, organizers, and activists on the ground.
What’s the history lesson in all of this? When we organize, we win.
Time to win.
See you in the streets on February 12th.