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Commentary :: Labor
Reportback from Bus Drivers Rally
01 Jul 2014
Modified: 07:06:51 AM
About 200 plus people showed up for the rally. At six o'clock the sun was still high in the sky over Hoyt Street off Dorchester Avenue when the rally began. Songs from sound system on the union truck filled air: "Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights!" Workers and supporters stood around in the shade chatting before the speakers took to the microphone. Steve Kirschbaum spoke from the back of the truck where a make-shift speakers platform was surrounded by union placards. Other supporters from labor union leaders to city counselors spoke in defense of the union and the three fired workers who the Veolia company singled out to blame for a labor incident that the bosses media called a "wildcat strike."

"Union! Union! Union!" was a frequent chant taken up by the workers in the crowd.

A police presence of several squad cars and police officers on bicycles were steps away from the crowd. A few police in civilian clothes with hand-cuffs and side-arms dangling from their belts were also visible speaking to uniformed police officers. A lone anti-union protester set up a lounge chair new a police car and sat with a large yellow sign advocating the abolition of the minimum wage. His shoulder length greying hair was floating on the breeze under his straw hat in the sunlight as he smiled like an idiot calling out to people. With armed police near by he could taught workers freely. The police would be on his side in any confrontation; he looked like he wanted one.

The Workers World Party had a literature table with their newspaper "Workers World" and other pamphlets and many pro-union signs. Some students from a Northeastern University Palestinian rights group attended to support the workers. Several state and local labor union leaders came to lend support. Spartacist League activists circulated in the crowd distributing Workers Vanguard with articles defending the school bus drivers union and the fired leaders. Chuck Turner, the city councilor sent to prison for accepting a bribe on camera, was at the podium speaking about the fraud of the "War on Drugs" and the legacy slavery and mass incarceration of black people in the US. City Councilor Charles Yancey spoke - he has been a friend of the bus drivers union for decades. In between speakers a young union woman lead chants with a delightful accent and obvious enthusiasm.

After about an hour of speeches and chants at Hoyt Street the workers assembled in the street behind the sound truck and march down Dorchester Ave and Freeport Street to the main gate of the bus yard where the company offices are.

Hundreds of workers marched through the streets of Boston demanding labor union rights and calling on all workers to organize and fight for our rights. An injury to one worker - is an injury to all workers.
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