In Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

This weekend as we celebrate the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., not only as an American hero, but also as a world hero who changed the course of history, it is also time to celebrate and rededicate ourselves to the movement he helped launch. To this day, the civil rights and social justice movement that Dr. King helped lead, shapes our efforts and aspirations to build a more just and fair world and forge a nation where opportunity and prosperity are not concentrated in the hands of a few but shared equally by all.

While all Americans have much to be thankful to Dr. King for, we owe a special debt to him for the work he did to advance the American Labor movement. Dr. King was guided by the principle that racial justice and civil rights were synonymous with workers’ rights. Over the course of his career, he worked with many labor leaders to advocate for fair wages, safe and healthy working conditions, as well as, fought against so-called “right-to-work” laws and anti-worker policies and laws. We must remember that the day his life was taken, Dr. King, undeterred by threats of violence, marched with Sanitation Workers on strike in Memphis.

Although great progress was made during his life and in the decades since his death, there is still work to be done. We must build on his legacy, speak truth to power, fight for our livelihoods and ensure that workers’ rights are respected.

In 1967, Dr. King concluded a sermon at a church in Atlanta, Georgia by asking the congregation to, “discover something that's so dear, so precious to you, that is so eternally worthful, that you will never give it up.” For me, it is the hard-working men and women of LIUNA for whom I will never stop fighting. And, on behalf of myself, General Secretary-Treasurer Armand E. Sabitoni and the entire LIUNA General Executive Board, I wish you a happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend and hope that you join me in taking inspiration from his incredible legacy.