A Message from President Dave Weidlich
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a civil rights leader who dedicated his life to fighting for equality and justice for all people. His legacy continues to inspire generations to this day, and one of the key areas in which he made a significant impact was in his support of the union labor movement.
We must never forget an often-overlooked aspect of his work: Dr. King was one of his era's most fearsome champions of working people coming together to organize, build power and improve their lives. One of Dr. King's last acts on this Earth was marching with Memphis sanitation workers who were seeking to form a union.
King recognized the importance of labor in uplifting humanity, and he understood that all work, regardless of its nature, has dignity and importance when it is undertaken with excellence. He was quoted as saying, "All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence."
King also recognized the economic struggles that many workers faced, particularly those in low-paying jobs. He spoke out against the injustice of inadequate wages and underemployment, and he understood that these issues were closely tied to the broader struggle for civil rights. "We look around every day and we see thousands and millions of people making inadequate wages. Not only do they work in our hospitals, they work in our hotels, they work in our laundries, they work in domestic service, they find themselves underemployed," King said. "You see, no labor is really menial unless you're not getting adequate wages. People are always talking about menial labor. But if you're getting a good (wage) as I know that through some unions they've brought it up...that isn't menial labor. What makes it menial is the income, the wages."
King's words serve as a reminder of the essential role that unions play in ensuring that all workers are treated with dignity and respect, and that they are able to earn a fair wage for their labor. His legacy continues to inspire us to fight for the rights of all workers, and to strive for a world in which everyone is treated with justice and equality
I ask each and every member to reflect on this day, the work that was done by others before us and the need to continue the fight for these basic rights that are still under attack. Get engaged in your community, your local politics and your union. Together, as a united front we can make a difference taking on corporate America.