Thursday, March 1, 2018
In the early days of April 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. traveled to Memphis, Tennessee, to join in a protest with 1,300 city sanitation workers who had gone on strike after two of their colleagues were killed on the job.
Their demands were, by any reasonable standards, modest: a safe workplace, fair wages, and to be treated with dignity and respect.
Dr. King would not have much time to participate in the demonstrations. On April 4, 1968, he was killed by an assassin's bullet at his Memphis motel. But Coretta Scott King recognized how important the sanitation workers' cause was to her late husband and led a march for the workers only four days after his death. And just two weeks later, the sanitation workers' union, AFSCME Local 1733, reached an agreement with the city for safer working conditions and higher wages.
Now, almost 50 years later, the Supreme Court will hear a case that could fundamentally turn back the clock on the movement for civil rights, labor rights and economic justice in America.
This case Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31 has the potential to undo the gains that generations of Americans have fought for. The justices will hear oral arguments on Monday, February 26th.