Across Arkansas today, more than 1,500 people rallied for the Employee Free Choice Act, demanding that workers get the freedom to form unions and bargain for a better life.
Ministers, civil rights leaders and national union leaders joined union members in three cities across the state this morning, then met in Little Rock, where a crowd of 1,500 braved 100-degree heat to march from Central High School across the city.
AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka said the fight for the freedom to form unions is a struggle for civil rights, and now is the right time for Arkansas elected officials to support that struggle. Trumka said:
“I want to thank Sen. [Mark] Pryor for his thoughtfulness, for his willingness to step up and do what’s right, and I want to encourage Sen. Blanche Lincoln to do what’s right–to do what’s right for working people, do what’s right for the middle class, do what’s right for our economy. Let America’s workers, Arkansan workers, negotiate their way into the middle class, rather than borrow their way into the middle class.”
Steelworkers (USW) president Leo Gerard introduced the rally, and union leaders including AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker; Electrical Workers (IBEW) President Edwin Hill; Deborah Burger, RN, co-president of the California Nurses Association (CNA/NNOC); and Jeff Rechenbach, secretary-treasurer of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), got the large crowd mobilized and fired up. (Check out lots more great photos of the march and rally here.)
Workers have come a long way in the fight for the Employee Free Choice Act, despite a massive corporate disinformation campaign. The votes of Arkansas Sens. Mark Pryor (D) and Blanche Lincoln (D) will be critical to passing this bill and making gthe economy work for everyone again.
In addition to Little Rock, union membes and allies rallied in Pine Bluff, Texarkana and Fort Smith.