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AFL-CIO Now

40,000 Call for Second Bill of Rights

IBEW President Edwin Hill adresses the Workers Stand for America Rally. WS4 photo

Some 40,000 working people—including Bo McCurry—stood up for working families and a Second Bill of Rights at a huge rally in Philadelphia on Saturday.

McCurry, 58, worked for 25 years at a Sparta, Tenn., manufacturing plant. Earlier this year, the plant closed its doors and shipped the jobs to Mexico. Says McCurry:  

My wife and I both lost our jobs, and so did 270 of our neighbors. The company just moved on and left us all behind. We need help getting back on our feet. That’s why I’m here to tell our nation’s leaders that we all have a right to a secure and healthy future.  

America’s Second Bill of Rights calls for:

  • 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.

Click on the video below to hear from other workers about why they journeyed to Philadelphia for the Workers Stand for America rally and to sign America’s Second Bill of Rights.  

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) told the crowd:

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.

AFL-CIO President Richard 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."       

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.

Dennis Caflin, 57, a member of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), told The Philadelphia Inquirer:

We're the oil that makes the United States work. If we're pushed out of the equation, it won't work well. There's an evil empire of corporate greed—that's where our problems are. The money they have never seems to be trickling down to the middle class.

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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