Our union has recommitted to working with the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival – a continuation of the work begun by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. more than 50 years ago – to fight economic inequality, lift millions of people out of poverty and give vulnerable Americans hope and dignity.
At a Wednesday press conference, AFSCME President Lee Saunders expressed our union’s support for a march to be held in June to persuade federal lawmakers to resolve the problems facing 140 million poor and low-income people living in the richest country on earth. Led by the leaders of the Poor People’s Campaign – the Rev. William Barber II and the Rev. Liz Theoharis – the event will be called the “Mass Poor People’s Assembly & Moral March on Washington.”
“Economic inequality is tearing at our national fabric,” Saunders said. “Immigrants are demonized. People of color are marginalized. Families of all races are forced to send their children to underfunded schools and can’t see a doctor when they’re sick.”
The Poor People’s Campaign, AFSCME’s longtime ally, is helping inspire people to fight for change – whether it is working people standing up for fair pay, women fighting for their rights, young people demanding an end to gun violence or people of color rising up for racial justice.
“That’s the movement moment – a rising wave of grass roots energy for freedom and justice. I’m proud to be a part of it. And I’m proud to show AFSCME’s solidarity with Reverend Barber and Reverend Theoharis, as they take up Dr. King’s mantle,” Saunders said.
King fought for labor rights because he knew just how much of a difference unions make in the lives of working people. Union members earn more than nonunion workers, enjoy superior health care and retirement benefits and have better workplace rights.
By joining together in unions to build power, working people can unrig an economy that favors wealthy people and corporations and restore economic justice to the 140 million people whose lives the Poor People’s Campaign is striving to improve.