The Struggle Continues for Memphis Sanitation Workers
As events continue in Memphis for the 45th anniversary of the 1968 Sanitation Workers’ Strike and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death, here is a new video which shows how AFSCME Local 1733 members are continuing their struggle for fairness and respect.
Dr. King traveled to Memphis to support the workers who were on strike to protest unfair wages, discrimination and unsafe working conditions. Forty-five years later, conditions for those sanitation workers are surprisingly similar. The city is threatening to privatize their jobs, workers are not earning a living wage, and working conditions are hazardous and unsafe.
Herbert Parson is a Local 1733 member who was working for the City of Memphis during the strike in 1968 and is still on the job today. “It took Dr. King coming here to change things,” said Parson.
But the struggle continues.
“Now they’re not only trying to take what they fought for in ’68,” says Keith Johnson, a Memphis sanitation worker and member of Local 1733 for 28 years. “Now they’re trying to take the job completely.”
“What they’re trying to do is just make everything private sector, get rid of all public sector,” Johnson adds. “Because they’re busting unions. Basically that’s it, they’re trying to bust the unions up.”