FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Stephanie Gadlin
August 22, 2013 (312) 329-6250
CHICAGO UNION MEMBERS JOIN NATIONAL MARCH ON WASHINGTON TO REALIZE THE DREAM
Teachers, labor leaders to conduct press conference at 4:30 p.m. Friday on South Side
CHICAGO—On Friday, August 23rd at 4:30 pm, more than 150 members of Chicago’s largest public service union locals will gather at Letter Carriers Hall, 3850 S. Wabash to get on the bus to Washington DC for the Realize the Dream 50th Anniversary March on Washington. Before boarding, the group will hold a press conference to talk about how they plan to take message about Chicago’s public school crisis to the historic event.
Calling themselves the Chicago Labor Freedom Riders, members of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), National Nurses United (NNU), National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Branch 11, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Action Now, and the International Socialist Organization (ISO) organized buses bound for Washington, DC this weekend to join sisters and brothers from hundreds of union locals as well as churches and community organizations to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
Chicago Labor Freedom Riders began organizing in July, immediately following the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the murder of Trayvon Martin. Recognizing that the outpouring of anger and anguish over the verdict would find expressions of solidarity and a new activist orientation in the August 24th march, a small group of rank-and-file union members appealed to leaders in their union locals to support their efforts at bring buses to DC.
“Today’s attack on public services—including schools, public hospitals and the postal service—are a special threat to African Americans’ right to full equality, including a decent standard of living. Public service institutions are subject to greater scrutiny against discrimination of all kinds than is found in the private sector. For that reason, African Americans have found employment and achievement in public service to a wider extent than in the corporate world,” said CTU Recording Secretary Michael Brunson.
“So the current wave of austerity, anti-union attacks and hostility to government programs disproportionately targets the African American community. The attack on public sector unions has ominous implications for the Black community. That’s why labor rights and civil rights go hand in hand.”
The Realize the Dream 50th Anniversary March on Washington was initiated by Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network. The march is co-sponsored by dozens of national and international unions, church and community organizations. On Saturday, August 24th, participants will hear from the presidents of the American Federation of Teachers (CTU’s parent federation), SEIU the National Organization of Women, SEIU, National Coalition of La Raza and other political and community leaders.
The bus will travel overnight to Washington DC. Riders will participate in the Saturday events at the National Mall and take the return trip overnight to Chicago, arriving Sunday morning.
The Chicago Teachers Union represents 30,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in the Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the more than 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third largest teachers local in the United States and the largest local union in Illinois. For more information please visit CTU’s website at www.ctunet.com.