New York – The IATSE officers and rank and file members from Locals in the tri-state area turned out in force on April 9 at a pro-labor rally coordinated by the New York State AFL-CIO and the New York City Central Labor Council. The “We Are One” solidarity demonstration began at noon in Times Square.
IA President Matthew D. Loeb was among the labor leaders who spoke to the masses, and those in attendance included General Secretary-Treasurer James B. Wood, International Vice Presidents Michael Barnes and Anthony DePaulo, Assistant to the President Deborah A. Reid, Assistant Director of the Motion Picture & Television Production Division Daniel Mahoney, International Representative Patricia A. White, as well as officers and members of IA Locals from as far as away as Philadelphia. The huge group of union members and supporters stretched from 42nd Street down 7th Avenue all the way down to 33rd Street.
Similar solidarity rallies were held all over the U.S. and Canada on Saturday, including those in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Paul, Minnesota; Atlanta, Georgia; Boston, Massachusetts; Boise, Idaho; Phoenix, Arizona; Orono, Maine; Raleigh, North Carolina; Joliet, Illinois; Des Moines, Iowa; Erie and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Sioux City, Iowa and Terre Haute, Indiana, as well as dozens of smaller towns in both countries where pro-labor forces turned out.
Tying in with the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4, these and other rallies cap a nationwide week of action to speak out against the assault on worker’s rights across the country.
In Chicago, IA members joined with thousands of Illinois teachers, painter, carpenters and other public service workers, filling Daley Plaza, carrying signs and chanting “We Are One,” in support for workers in states where political leaders have proposed limiting collective bargaining rights. International Vice President Craig Carlson and International Trustee Thomas Cleary attended this rally along with officers and members of all IA Locals in Chicago.
Members of various unions were part of a huge march and rally in Pittsburgh. The marchers moved from the front of the Equitable Gas Company to the building housing the Pittsburgh office of the Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, a Republican who is slashing funds for education while giving more tax cuts to corporations.
In Columbus, Ohio, thousands of people seeking to repeal Ohio’s new collective bargaining law rallied at the Statehouse and promised to remember the fight over the measure when they choose which candidates to support in future elections. The gathering, which was organized by the We Are Ohio campaign, a grass-roots bipartisan group, is signing up people to circulate petitions in pursuit of a referendum on the measure recently signed by Republican Gov. John Kasich.
The pro-labor movement is spreading across the globe as our brothers and sisters in Canada showed support as well from coast to coast. Rob Ford, the recently elected mayor of Toronto, has already decided to contract out garbage collection, and has asked the province of Ontario to introduce legislation eliminating the right to strike for transit workers. In reaction to this and to the anti-union bias already in play in the U.S., a rally was held on April 9 in Toronto with the IATSE as one of the supporting organizations. International Vice President John Lewis, International Representative Peter DaPrato, District 11 Secretary-Treasurer Cheryl Batulis, and Canadian (Toronto) office staff took part as did rank and file members of half a dozen IA Locals. The march started at Dundas Square and moved to the Toronto City Hall. IATSE members also joined in a rally held last week at the US-Canada border on the west coast.