February 22, 2008
On February 9, thousands of activists, including hundreds of union members, rallied for a progressive legislative agenda, including justice for the Smithfield workers and collective bargaining for public employees. The rally and march were part of the second annual Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HK on J) event organized by the NC NAACP and over 80 partner organizations including the NC AFL-CIO.
During the rally at Chavis Park in Raleigh, participants heard rousing speeches from Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the NC NAACP and other progressive activists including three speakers from labor:
- NC AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer MaryBe McMillan speaking on a living wage,
- Alvin Vincent, Regional Director for UFCW speaking on justice for Smithfield workers, and
- Ashaki Binta of the HOPE Coalition speaking for collective bargaining rights for public employees.
After the rally, the crowd took to the streets and marched to Legislative Building to demand that our elected officials protect workers’ rights, provide affordable healthcare, educate all children, and address inequities in the criminal justice system.
Thanks to the many union members who came to HK on J including delegations from UFCW, USW, IBEW, UNITE HERE, IBT, and the Carpenters Union. Special thanks to Ricky McDowell and the UAW Civil Rights Council for bringing a busload of UAW members to the event. We will need the help of all union members during the upcoming legislative session to achieve collective bargaining and the other goals of the HK on J. Stay tuned on how you can help.