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Feb. 1 Moment of Silence to Honor Key Date in Labor History

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) has organized a moment of silence, scheduled to take place on Feb. 1, to honor the 50th anniversary of the events that began the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike. On that day, the lives of two working men, Echol Cole and Robert Walker, ended in a senseless and tragic accident that could have been prevented if management had heeded employee warnings about faulty equipment. This strike was historically significant, not just because it was a response to this tragedy, but also because it was a very public demonstration of the connection between organized labor and the civil rights movement. It also was significant because Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated while in Memphis to support the strikers.

The moment of silence will launch the I AM 2018 campaign organized by AFSCME and The Church of God in Christ to advance racial and economic justice. As part of the I AM 2018 campaign to honor the legacy of the ensuing strike and MLK’s sacrifice, they urge all local unions to organize a moment of silence. NATCA’s National Office employee union has organized a moment of silence to take place in Washington, D.C. We encourage you to organize your own facility-based moment of silence if you can. We invite members to post about their facilities participated in this moment of silence on NATCA’s social media channels.