On Monday, April 4th, a coalition of over 3,000 San Francisco workers, allies, community members and faith leaders marched through the financial district of San Francisco to protest the financial greed and irresponsibility of Wall Street banks and corporations. Their irresponsible financial behavior has lead to unprecedented layoffs of American workers and sparked an unconscionable campaign by right wing business leaders and Republican legislators to exploit this financial crisis by trying to fire workers in order to contract out this work to their low paying business friends – to fire and layoff the workers who keep our cities and states working. Main Street and American workers are under attack in ways we have never seen in our democracy and the Labor Movement is beginning to take to the streets and halls of government, not only in San Francisco, but in hundreds of other cities and states.
On Monday our coalition marched down San Francisco’s California Street and demanded no teacher layoffs, no tax breaks for the rich, stimulus programs to create jobs, and a guarantee that business pay its fair share. Our theme was WE ARE ONE in support of the workers under attack in Wisconsin. We were joined by the police, firefighters, teachers, public workers, nurses, health care workers, building and construction trade workers, grocery workers, bus drivers, janitors and many other private and public sector workers who shouted that we need to stand together and stop this corporate greed.
We stopped at the Bank of America and Chase banks where we demanded an end to foreclosures and multi-million dollar executive bonuses while workers stay unemployed. We stopped by the Hyatt Regency, where the billionaire owners experience massive profits and yet still layoff workers and demand that healthcare benefits be reduced. We stood with teachers outside downtown buildings where rich property owners are demanding tax breaks on billion dollar buildings.
We were inspired by speaker Stephanie Bloomingdale, the Secretary Treasurer of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO who is leading the fight against Governor Walker’s illegal attack to eliminate workers right to collectively bargain a contract and have a voice at work. We also heard from Eva Patterson, from the Equal Justice Society and the California Civil Rights Coalition, who told us she represented thousands of civil rights activists who stand with workers and will continue to fight with us.
And we were joined by Liz Shuler, our national AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer, who represents millions of America’s workers, and who, among her many duties, is leading the call from young workers across America to fight these attacks against fair wages, safety at work and the right to healthcare. Liz reminded us on Monday that Martin Luther King was murdered in Memphis 43 years ago fighting for the same issues: a voice at work and the right to form a union and bargain for fair wages and benefits.
Thank you to all who marched with us Monday. And thank you to all who are part of our movement and our fight.