Washington, DC—Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), issues this statement as the nation honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:
“As we pause today to celebrate the life and leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we are reminded of his devotion to creating economic opportunities for all individuals, especially women and men facing discrimination.
“Dr. King was adamant that through collective bargaining, we could lift up all working people. At his speech to the AFL-CIO in 1961, he explained that it was the labor movement that enlarged the strength of our nation. ‘By raising the living standards of millions,’ he said, ‘labor miraculously created a market for industry and lifted the whole nation to undreamed levels of production. Those who attack labor forget these simple truths, but history remembers them.’
“It is imperative that we keep Dr. King’s words in mind and carry this history with us. We must remember every day the importance of strong unions for providing working people a clear path into the middle class. And we must never forget that there is still work to be done. From the ever-widening wage gap to declines in union membership and the corresponding collapse of the middle class, the value of collective bargaining is at risk of being forgotten.
“It is up to us to ensure that all people, no matter their race, their gender, their background, have access to good jobs, safe workplaces, quality healthcare, and retirement security. Through our words and deeds—from activism to the policies passed in Congress—we can honor Dr. King’s legacy and build an America that works for everyone.”
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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy Inspires Us to Fight for an America that Works for Everyone (138 kB)