MEMPHIS, Tenn. – One thousand leaders of the nation’s labor movement, gathered here for the AFL-CIO’s Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Observance, launched a drive Jan. 18 to “take back the country” in the 2008 elections.
Heeding King’s 1961 declaration that “the vote is our most powerful weapon,” labor and civil rights leaders mapped plans and held training sessions to arm trade unionists with tools they hope will elect a pro-worker president, larger pro-labor majorities in the Senate and the House, pro-labor governors and hundreds of progressives in state legislative bodies. Observers called it the most ambitious election effort ever by labor and its allies.
Before they launched their actual plan the unionists were fired up by remarks made by Ron Walters, professor at the University of Maryland-College Park, who said “in 2008, the elections are the key vehicle for civil and workers’ rights.
“Dr. King would indeed be proud if he could see the field of the main Democratic contenders for the presidency, a woman, an African American, and a white male who opened his campaign for the job in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans,” Walters declared as delegates rose to their feet and cheered.
“As always, we must keep the issues on the front burner,” he said, “but I think we can live with any of these three candidates and when could we ever say that before about all the possible nominees of one of the big parties?” Article continues here.