Sunday, May 8, 2011

Labor Leaders Speak At Forum in New York City

By Monica Moorehead
Published May 6, 2011 8:53 PM

Members and friends of Workers World Party were inspired by talks given by Gilbert Johnson, president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 82, and Clarence Thomas, an executive board member of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10, at an April 29 WWP forum in New York City. Johnson, based in Milwaukee, Wis., and Thomas from Oakland, Calif., were also featured speakers at the May Day Union Square rally in NYC organized by the May 1 Coalition for Worker and Immigrant Rights.

At the forum, Johnson spoke about his experiences as a union leader at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, including organizing support for the student sit-in against budget cuts, now two months long. Thomas spoke about the heroic rank-and-file shutdown of the Bay Area docks on April 4 in solidarity with the Wisconsin struggle and against current U.S. wars.

Chris Silvera, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 808, and Teresa Gutierrez, a May 1 Coalition co-coordinator and WWP leader, spoke about the significance of a united May Day rally at Foley Square. A delegation from the African-American-led Million Worker March Movement, co-founded by Thomas, attended the forum

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