March 25, 2011
Nashville, Tenn. – Members of AFSCME Local 1733 stood this week in solidarity with other unions and groups supporting the collective bargaining rights of teachers.
“Stop union busting!” they chanted during a Tuesday demonstration at a Senate Commerce Committee meeting in Nashville, where lawmakers were considering the anti-union legislation. The protest also was aimed at several other anti-union bills, including one that would make it illegal for unions to have a political voice, and another to stop the collection of dues.
When troopers tried to break up the boisterous demonstration, several protestors entwined their arms, forcing the troopers to carry them forcibly out of the room. Seven were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
The MidSouth Peace & Justice Center, part of a coalition of unions and groups supporting teachers’ rights to collective bargaining, posted bail for those arrested. AFSCME members at the Capitol donated $400 to help defray the bail expense. Local 1733 matched that amount.
“We’re just blown away by the support of AFSCME members,” says MidSouth Peace & Justice Center Dir. Jacob Flowers. He adds that Local 1733 has “always been an ally of grassroots organizing.”
Local 1733 is a storied union. Its 1968 fight to improve working conditions and wages of Memphis sanitation workers brought Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to the city in support of their strike. King was assassinated there on April 4, 1968.