30,000 union members expected at Philadelphia rally for rights
August 6, 2012By Diane Weltman
Labor unions representing more than 30,000 workers will gather at Eakins Oval this Saturday as part of a "Workers Stand for America" rally.
A centerpiece to the event is a modern "bill of rights," a five-point document detailing worker rights to fair wages, a voice in the workplace, reasonable health care and education.
Philadelphia City Councilman Bobby Henon, a member of IBEW Local 98, says this unified approach is something new for local labor unions.
"Aside from the original signing of the (U.S.) Bill of Rights, this approach is, I think, outside the box," he said. "I think it sends an awesome message that labor, the middle class, feels that they could be represented much better and that they deserve these inalienable rights."
Labor leaders have been meeting weekly for more than a month to plan for the Center City event. John Dougherty, business manager of IBEW Local 98, says unions have finally awakened.
"The labor community has never been this united and I've been tellin' people this is just not for this Saturday," he said. "I believe you're gonna see a re-energized labor movement. As I've been tellin' people, we've been in a sort of complacency coma and that day is over."
Among the unions joining the IBEW Local 98 at the rally will be the AFL/CIO, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, Philadelphia Building Trades Council and the National Union of Hospital and HealthCare Employees.
The rally begins at 11 a.m.