Veterans of the Memphis Strike March for Sanitation Workers’ Rights in Atlanta 45 Years Later

DeKalbsanitationmarch2013On the observation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, I posted about the significance of the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers’ strike. Today comes word that two of the men who marched for the right to organize 45 years ago, Alvin Turner and Baxter Leach, are now marching with Atlanta-area sanitation workers who are fighting for their right to organize.

DeKalb sanitation workers want better pay and working conditions. Turner and Leach says it’s the same thing they fought for more than 40 years ago.

“This brings back the memories that happened in 1968. The same thing is happening now that happened then,” Turner said.

“It just fills my heart to see how they carry on Martin Luther King’s dream…They made me almost cry,” said Leach.

DeKalb sanitation workers say they have not received a raise in more than four years. The workers have been meeting with the county commission about recognizing their newly formed union.

In Going Down Jericho Road, Michael Honey discusses the legacy of the Memphis strike, including some of the limitations placed on public-sector unions in the years after the Memphis workers won their right to organize. The DeKalb County action is a reminder that the struggles of history continue today.

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