"Ain't no power like the power of the people, and the power of the people don't stop" chanted union labor supporters, who attended a lunch-time rally in Albuquerque.
Monday's rally coincided with the commemoration of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. Rally leaders said they wanted to honor King’s commitment to help workers earn collective bargaining rights.
Dan Rivera, a retired AFL-CIO pipefitter, and former New Mexico Federation of Labor director, told us he's concerned that unions are being disrespected.
"We're being attacked. We're being spit in the face. We're being disrespected, and it's the people who have to come out and stop it," Rivera said. "It's disgraceful what they've done to organized labor."
He said he's prepared to stand up and fight it.
Listen to my full interview with Rivera on AudioBoo by clicking the blue arrow below.
Rivera says their rally is not just about union workers.
"It’s about the people and about human rights," Rivera said.
Carrying signs, people at the rally gathered at the corner of Central and San Mateo and listened to speeches by Rep. Eleanor Chavez, Democratic Party Chairman Javier Gonzales, and defense attorney Sam Bregman, a candidate for party chair.
Updated: April 4, 2011 at 3:40pm
State Representative Elenaor Chavez, who has represented health workers in the past, and currently represents teachers, agrees with Rivera.
"Workers in New Mexico have a right to jobs with justice, a living wage, benefits and a pension," Chavez said.
Listen to my complete audio interview with her here. I found it interesting to hear what workers did back in the 1980's while Hal Stratton was the state's Attorney General. They created a W.A.R unit, or Workers Against Repression. Interesting history and a good interview.
Sam Bregman says new Gov. Susana Martinez is balancing the state's budget on the backs of union workers. Here's my complete audio interview with Sam. Trust us, you'll want to hear what he says about the lack of a labor board in Albuquerque, more than a year after Mayor Richard Berry was sworn into office. Bregman calls it an assault on the right's of workers and collective bargaining.
April 4th marked the 43rd anniversary of King's death.