The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Kawana Lloyd, 202-730-7087

Statement of SEIU President Andy Stern on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Dedication to Working Families

"We must work unceasingly to uplift this nation that we love to a higher destiny, to a higher plateau of compassion, to a more noble expression of humanness” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


weekend, we will remember the life and the dream of the Reverend Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr., and his dedication to uplifting all Americans
seeking social justice and economic freedom.

"Dr. King had a strong commitment to
labor and ensuring workers' rights even until his death in Memphis.
There, he stood with striking sanitation workers in their struggle to
form a union and bargain for better wages and benefits with their
employers. He understood the connections between strengthening unions,
uplifting workers, and the Civil Rights Movement, to achieve long-term

"The struggle of workers continues
even now. As the nation copes with today's news of another 600,000 jobs
lost and an 8.5 percent unemployment rate, the stakes remain high for
passing the Employee Free Choice Act.

"As we continue urging Congress to
pass the Employee Free Choice Act to improve the lives of working men
and women regardless of race, color or creed, and in doing so, we
should remember Dr. King's work and legacy. We should pay tribute to
him by blazing the path that will give workers the right to unite in
the workplace. Improving living standards and bargaining with employers
for better job security, wages and health care - employee free choice-
is a basic civil right and one that keeps the American Dream alive."

*Listen to Dr. King's full speech at 1199SEIU to union members and supporters before his assassination in 1968 about continuing fight for social and economic justice.

With 2 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers--not just corporations and CEOs--benefit from today's global economy.