As part of AFSCME's I AM 2018 campaign, members across the country are being asked to join other union members on Thursday February 1, 2018 at 4:20 p.m., for a national Moment of Silence. This will be an observance to remember the lives of Echol Cole and Robert Walker, the AFSCME sanitation men crushed to death 50 years ago this February 1. AFSCME public service workers are encouraged to participate by organizing an observance of solidarity.
In case you didn't know, a storm on February 1, 1968, forced these two brother sanitation workers to seek shelter in the back of their truck. The workers repeated warnings to management about faulty equipment proved tragically prophetic that day when the truck's compactor kicked on, crushing the two men to death. Their coworkers decided they had had enough. Their deaths sparked the walkout of 1,300 fellow AFSCME sanitation workers.
In honoring their legacy, and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King who gave his life for their struggle, together, we resolve February 1 as a day to wake up America. There is so much to be done, so much business unfinished from 1968. America needs to re-engage with workers' aspirations: for dignity on the job, for quality public services, for prosperity to be shared among all of us, for human rights for everyone.
"America needs to re-engage with workers’ aspirations: for dignity on the job, for quality public services, for prosperity to be shared among all of us, for human rights for everyone," said AFSCME Local 1733 Interim President Keith Johnson of Memphis, who encourages AFSCME sisters and brothers to stand in solidarity with him and his union members.
Moment of Silence: An open letter from AFSCME Local 1733 Interim President (Memphis)