Tuesday, April 05, 2011
Union workers rallied in front of City Hall at Frank Ogawa Plaza yesterday in support of Wisconsin state employees and other union workers threatened by Republican efforts to do away with their right to organize and bargain together for pay and conditions.
It was a lovely sunny day for an outdoor gathering.
Though the rally was cheerful, workers are well aware that this is not just some faraway kerfuffle in snowy fly over states. The "We Are One" slogan seemed meaning-filled for these folks.
Not all were public workers. Workers at the Port of Oakland closed down operations for the day.
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan led the crowd of perhaps 1500 in a chant. "Oakland is a union town!"
Not all the speakers were officials or politicians. This woman is a grocery store clerk. Another man was an electrician. They offered a simple solution to governments' budget woes: tax the rich! They've already experienced pay and benefit cuts. What about the people who are making the big money? One worker speaker wondered whether it was time for labor to "organize for a strike all across the nation."
Stephanie Bloomingdale, Secretary-Treasurer of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO, thanked northern California workers for their solidarity. This fight is just beginning.