by Jon Melegrito | June 20, 2012
Ed Schultz, host of MSNBC’s The Ed Show.
LOS ANGELES — The importance of the fight for our nation’s public workers was the focus of a program on Tuesday highlighting AFSCME’s efforts to fight for collective bargaining, pensions, workers’ rights, and pushing back against budget cuts in states nationwide.
“Everyone knows unions are the last wall against the flood of corporate influence in government,” progressive talk radio and MSNBC host Ed Schultz said yesterday while emceeing the battleground program during AFSCME’s 40th International Convention. “You must keep up the fight!”
Schultz, the host of MSNBC’s The Ed Show introduced five AFSCME members who aren’t backing down.
Dean Farmer, a custodian in Londonderry, N.H., and president of Local 1801 (Council 93), said his union and community supporters stopped the Legislature from passing a right-to-work- for-less bill.
“This same fight is being waged in many, many states where workers remain in solidarity and are fighting back.”
Neil Lake, president of the State of Nevada Employees Association/AFSCME Local 4041, talked about politicians who are “cutting services in Kansas, New Jersey, Michigan, Tennessee, Texas and his own home state of Nevada where “budget choices are being made that don’t line up with our values.”
“We’re standing up for retirement security for all,” said Delores Bresette, a retiree from Rhode Island and a member of Retiree Chapter 94.
“I worked for the state and paid into the retirement system for 37 years. But the state broke its contract and took away the cost of living adjustment for us retirees. We’re fighting their lies and setting the record straight.”
Dawn Tyson, president of Local 538 (Council 4) pointed out the support of the community, elected leaders, the Central Labor Council and the Citizen Action Network in stopping the mayor of New Haven, Conn., from privatizing school custodial services and gutting workers’ benefits. “We fought back by electing 14 union-endorsed candidates in the alderman race,” she said.
Gerald “Rocky” Jolly from Ohio (OCSEA) described how, through the AFSCME Faces and Voices Training, members have become powerful messengers across the country, using innovative and creative ways to communicate to the public. “We have the power,” he added. “They will never knock us out.”
Watch video from the battleground program below: