Last night as my colleague and I were approaching the intersection to turn right onto my street on our way home from the office, I noticed a large group of people with picket signs about a half-block past our turn. Instead of going home, we drove by to see what was going on. While we waited at the light, I dug my press credential and camera out of my backpack. When we saw that it was a rally in support of the Employee Free Choice Act, organized by Jobs with Justice and the SEIU – taking place in 90-degree heat – I hopped out of the car and started taking photos and talking to the people in attendance.
I didn’t do an actual head count, but I would estimate that at least 100 – and probably closer to 150 – people were marching, carrying signs, and singing protest songs as they walked a loop around the streetlight polls at either end of the stretch of sidewalk between the parking lot entrances to the MainCor building and the Home Depot – which a few of the signs singled out as the Wal-Mart of home improvement stores.
The reaction of the people driving down Main was encouraging – lots of waves, smiles and honking horns, and I didn’t see one single one-fingered salute. And the city bus drivers – union members all – showed their support for the picketers by waiting until they were past the marchers to merge right into the bus lane to make their stops at the end of the block.
UPDATE 12:15 p.m.
I just got off the phone with Aaron Jones, the organizer and union rep for SEIU Local #1, and learned that in spite of a concerted campaign to inform the press of the rally, there was no media presence at all, save Yours Truly. Not one t.v. camera, not one microphone, not one print reporter. No traditional media presence whatsoever. Just one lonely blogger. Amazing.
(Many more pictures after the jump.)
“They got bailed out, we got sold out” was a common sentiment expressed on the signs being carried.
Human Need, Not Corporate Greed
He remembers the first time we had to fight for workers rights.