Monday, August 13, 2012

IBEW Local 1212 Contingent at Workers Stand For America Rally

IBEW Local 1212 Business Manager Ralph Avigliano and Senior Business Representative Vinny Butler, along with a group of Local 1212 members took the long bus ride to Philadelphia for the Workers Stand For America Rally.  Our membership can be proud of the turn out from our Local and the members who stepped up and went to Philadelphia in this time of struggle for all.

The dozens of charter buses that lined the Ben Franklin Parkway leading up to the museum testified to the magnitude of the event. They came from places including Florida, Texas, Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York.

The IBEW Local 1212 contingent was among the 40,000 union workers that converged on Fairmount Park in Philadelphia on Saturday in solidarity with one another and with workers across America. They came together to convey a message that Washington's war on organized labor and the crippling of the American economy for the benefit of the wealthiest  will not stand.

They stood in protest of an ineffective Congress that has no real plans for putting Americans back to work. They denounced the record levels of unemployment, massive outsourcing, tax breaks for the rich while raising taxes on the working middle class, and denial of collective bargaining rights, that has been the hallmark of the GOP dominated political scene as they implement the dismantling of the American dream.

IBEW International President Ed Hill took a stand for solidarity and the steps necessary to bring IBEW members together in the birthplace of our nation to speak out for all American workers. All IBEW local unions answered the call and were surely well represented with a sea of neon yellow shirts as far as the eye could see.

CWA, Utility Workers, and UAW members were out in force as well.

According to, as of June 2012, as many as 10.5 million good middle class jobs have been outsourced from the United States to China, India, and Indonesia.

The thousands packed in and around Eakins Oval heard speeches, including a video-taped message from President Barack Obama, live messages from Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, D-1, of Philadelphia and U.S. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. 

President Trumka said that it is work that connects us all and “Work defines us….But hard work alone never led to decent wages and retirement. It takes hard work and activism."

President Trumka continued; "We built this country. We wake it up every day, we make it run and we put it to sleep every night—and it's time that we took it back for the American worker. Anyone who says America can't afford retirement security, or health care, or decent pay for honest work, or great schools, or a postal service, or cops or firefighters and teachers and nurses—well, they don't know what they're talking about and we won't accept their defeatism.

"You built the middle class, you're going to continue to build the middle class,' Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., told the crowd. "You help people who are sometimes not even in a union, because you lift all boats when you fight for those rights."

The 40,000 protesting union members called for a second Bill of Rights as they they carried signs and wore shirts with messages such as “Dignity and Respect" – "Build Union" – "Buy American”, “Jobs Create the Tax Base”, and “Stop the War on Workers.”
  • Full employment and a living wage.
  • Full participation in the political process.
  • A voice at work.
  • A quality education for all.
  • A secure and healthy future.
The fact that this is an election year is not lost on the workers nor the politicians. The country’s unemployment rate is at 8.2 percent, a number that’s not lost on anybody. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, head of the Democratic National Committee, says the Workers Stand for America rally is sure to send a message to lawmakers about what’s important to America’s working class. “The second bill of rights is so incredibly important so that we make sure that we can reinforce our focus on fighting for the middle class and working families.”

Democratic party chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz speaks during the "Workers Stand for America" rally on behalf of middle-class workers in Eakins Oval. ( RON TARVER / Staff Photographer )

The union leaders, members, and supporters of job creation, collective bargaining rights, fair wages and benefits, affordable healthcare and education, turned out in their thousands to send a message to both Democrat and Republican politicians; We are Union, over 14 million strong, we are angry, and we vote!

America is not a plutocracy to be governed by and for the ultra wealthy, but a democracy which must continue to bestow power to its people and provide equal opportunity to all.

Click here for video of the entire event, here for photos and comments on Facebook and here for photos on Flickr

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