Despite his untimely passing this week, Kenneth Jefferson lives on in the memories and hearts of his loved ones. Brother Jefferson’s light also burns bright in the spirit of Local 1422.
His story is one of a simple act of boldness and solidarity that had historic repercussions. Charleston dockworkers and workers of the world owe Kenneth a great debt. For defending the brothers and sisters of this union on January 19, 2000, Kenneth as well as 4 other heroes, were arrested and placed under house arrest for nearly a year. They were facing a likely felony conviction and a long prison sentence. But as Kenneth said back then, “when your livelihood is at stake, you have to take a stand.”
In the months that followed, Kenneth discovered and we discovered that there were thousands of workers around the world who would stand up with us. With that outpouring of love and support, we were able to defeat Nordana and the whole political power structure of South Carolina. Rest in comfort, brother Jefferson that your fight lives on through our work for a stronger union and a better world for all workers. The Charleston Five: “Proud to be Union”