September 3, 2012 (Labor Day) 1:00pm-5:00pm
Wedgewood Baptist Church
4800 Wedgewood Drive
Charlotte NC 28210
The U.S. South is the bastion of anti-labor right-to-work laws and has the lowest percentage of unionization than other regions in the U.S. It is a region with a history of deep racial, social, and economic divisions within the working class, and where political disenfranchisement and conservatism has been the most concentrated.
The corporate elites, and their influence over federal, state and local governments, not only want to keep the conditions for workers and working class communities in the South as they are; they are pushing hard throughout the country to create similar conditions in regions and states where labor has had its most organized bases.
These increasing attacks on labor throughout the country, has placed the labor movement more and more on the defensive since the Reagan era attacks on labor. The attack on the public sector unions in Wisconsin was a wake-up call for public and private sector workers across the U.S. The initial rallying of thousands to occupy the state capital was very inspiring and a statement that the mass mobilization of workers can exercise power to force changes. Labor’s defeat in the Wisconsin recall election also provides important lessons.
For workers in the South where the anti-worker laws, conservative political forces, and the shifting of major sections of U.S. and international manufacturing and global banking, has been taking place over the past 30 years, an offensive movement must be built to organize labor.
The fight for labor rights in the South is long overdue within the strategies of the U.S. national labor movement. However, like the civil rights movement of the 1950’s and 60’s the movement to organize labor in the South must be launched by the Southern workers ourselves, through our worker organizations, local unions and social movement organizations fighting for social, economic and environmental justice.
United around a program that speaks to the needs of the working class, especially the historically oppressed African American masses, women and the growing immigrant population who are the most exploited and oppressed segments, a Southern labor alliance can be formed to begin the work of building the connections and infrastructure for launching a South-wide movement to organize labor in the South.
The starting point for this effort is the Southern Workers Assembly, where representatives of unions, worker organizations and worker support networks will converge in Charlotte, NC on September 3rd, during the time and location of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) to give voice to issues and needs of workers in the South.
The DNC will attract mainstream media coverage from throughout the world. It will provide a major opportunity for the voices of Southern workers to be heard about the changes needed to make the U.S. government and system accountable to international human rights outlined in the U.N. Declaration on Human Rights and conventions that demand rights and practices for workers and oppressed peoples.
Most importantly, the SWA will provide an opportunity for some initial planning for the organizing of a South-wide meeting to form a Southern Labor Alliance to map out a strategy for launching a campaign to organize a labor movement in the South.
Add your name as an endorser of the SWA. Hold a forum in your city to discuss organizing labor in the South and to bring a delegation to the SWA. Do an interview for the SWA Speak Out page. Fill out a SWA survey.
All out for the Southern Workers Assembly!
For more information on participating in the Southern Workers Assembly contact Saladin Muhammad of the Southern International Worker Justice Campaign at info [at] southernworker.org or 252-314-2363.