Mar 6, 2014
CWA Local 3570's Brenda Rice-Scott calls for a pay raise for state workers.
Below: Several organizations and state employee groups turned out for the rally.
"Ethical Thursdays" are bringing thousands of Mississippi activists to the state capitol in Jackson to stand up for economic justice and democracy.
Inspired by Moral Monday actions that have spread from North Carolina to Georgia to Florida, Ethical Thursdays are protesting the attack on working people in Mississippi by Tea Party Republicans and outside groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), said Brenda Rice-Scott, president of CWA Local 3570-Mississippi Alliance of State Employees.
The Mississippi legislature has attacked workers' pensions, refused to support health care for the state's poorest citizens and are looking to do away with due process for state workers, reinstating a decades-old system of favoritism, Rice-Scott said.
Last Thursday, workers and allies gathered at the Capitol, ready to "wake up Mississippians to vote for people who represent their interests," Rice-Scott said. Speakers talked about what activists need to do to move forward on education, health care, fixing the criminal justice system and workers' rights.
Today, protesters are again rallying on the south steps of the capitol and wearing black to highlight the dire consequences if the legislature fails to act now.
"We believe that by uniting together, it will go a long way to building and sustaining a Mississippi movement to counter those whose agenda is to set our state on a return to economic and moral dishonesty," Rice-Scott wrote. "The progressive members of the legislature need our continuing presence and support as they attempt to fight the mean-spirited legislation aimed at furthering the divide in our state. Let's create a determined movement with our leadership and the people we serve and advance the gains we've made together over the years."
Moral Mondays in Tallahassee
This week, CWAers joined members of the NAACP, Southern Christian Leadership Conference and others in a Moral Monday rally that called on the Florida legislature to "have some morals and raise their standards when it comes to enacting laws."
The rally focused on voting rights, equal justice, education and other issues.
Lobby Day in Albany
CWAers from New York, with a big contingent from Local 1180, rally before heading to legislators' offices.
About 250 CWAers were a big part of Lobby Day at the state capitol in Albany, N.Y., with CWA Local 1180 leading the way with 150 activists. CWAers pushed members of the state legislature to get big money out of politics by adopting a plan for public financing of elections, and to fairly fund universal pre-kindergarten programs for all New York children.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has included funding for public financing of elections in his budget, now it's up to the State Assembly and Senate to include the measure in their proposed budgets. Public financing of elections would limit the sway and influence of big money corporate interests and lobbyists in our political process, and would restore the voice of small donors.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has made universal pre-kindergarten a key part of his program and has proposed a tax on the wealthiest 1 percent to fully fund it on a year-to-year basis. Almost 75,000 kids need high-quality pre-kindergarten in New York City alone, and fewer than 20,000 now receive full-day, quality instruction.