St. Thomas-St. John Federation of Teachers Celebrate the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Union Activism

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Local 1825 celebrates the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by honoring his legacy as a union activist and champion of fair wages and safe working conditions for people of color.

Happy Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday to the St. Thomas-St. John Federation of Teachers! As we celebrate the life of one of the most extraordinary human beings of the 20th Century, let us remember Dr. King’s legacy of the Labor Movement. He championed civil rights and unions and saw the two as natural allies. He supported unions, marched with unions and believed unions to be the path to working and living with dignity.

“As I have said many times, and believe with all my heart, the coalition that can have the greatest impact in the struggle for human dignity here in America is that of the Negro and the forces of labor because their fortunes are so closely intertwined.”

-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. King stood in solidarity with the following unions: 

  • UAW 
  • Amalgamated Laundry Workers
  • UAW District 65
  • Illinois AFL-CIO
  • Teamsters and Allied Trade Councils
  • Local 1199

AFSCME Memphis Sanitation Local 1733, where Dr. King was assassinated on April 3, 1968, fighting for better working conditions and higher pay for black sanitation workers after the gruesome deaths of two African-American employees on the job.

We owe Dr. King a depth of gratitude for galvanizing African Americans and the Labor Movement. He saw the benefit of unions to people of color. Decent wages, fair working conditions, affordable housing, and elderly financial security are some of the things Dr. King believed would improve the quality of life for so many people. He thought that no job was too small, only the wages. He believed that there was dignity in all work.

While you enjoy this day, remember that Dr. King not only fought for civil rights but also championed fair labor practices. May his legacy continue to inspire us to fight for a better quality of life through organizing and the resurgence of the Labor Movement!

In Solidarity!

Leontyne Jones

President, Local 1825