On April 2nd, over 1,500 people gathered at Peace Arch Park for a record setting international rally for worker’s rights. Public school teachers tired of being demonized stood shoulder to shoulder with laborers who were furious about their rights being stripped away. Speakers from Olympia to northern British Columbia talked about how the fight in Wisconsin is our wake-up call.
You would think, with that many people coming together for a common cause there would be some media coverage. But once again, KGMI, the Bellingham Herald and all the state media groups were completely AWOL. You know who covered it? Iranian television. Seriously, a great write up and video spot here. It is unconscionable to ignore a story this big. However you feel about labor unions or worker's rights, this is a big story. Class warfare is erupting in our country and around the world as people finally realize how economically oppressed our lives have become. Charlie Sheen can only occupy us for so long, eventually we wake up and realize the bread and circuses for what they are.
Back to my reporting. Mark Lowry, Whatcom Democrats Vice-Chair and Amalgamated Transit Union president spoke. “We have worked long and hard to get where we are today and the price has been paid in blood by those who have gone before us.” Many spoke about the need to prevent the continued advance of corporate interests at the expense of many hard working Americans trying to get by.
The 42nd LD Democrats were there, registering voters and standing arm in arm with fellow organizers from Canada and the States. Washington State Northwest Labor Council President Dave Warren gave my favorite quote of the event, publicly thanking Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. “Thank you Scott Walker, you scum-sucking, bottom-dwelling, loathsome Toad, for getting us fired up. I have never seen the working people of this country so energized and organized.”
Jeff Johnson, Washington State Labor Council president, spoke about the plight of the Washington ferry workers, whose bargaining rights are under attack by our state legislature. He talked about the need to band together, that we all are in this together. As the reoccurring chant went: “We are Union! We are One!”