Over 150 People Travel from Ithaca to One Nation Working Together Rally in DC

It’s 1 a.m. early morning of Saturday, October 2nd, and 140 people are loading onto three buses, organized by the Tompkins County Workers’ Center (TCWC) and the United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 2300, outside of Shortstop Deli in Ithaca to travel down to Washington, DC for the One Nation Working Together rally. The movement and rally, called One Nation Working Together, includes human and civil rights organizations, unions and trade associations, nonprofit organizations, youth and student groups, religious and other faith groups, who are committed to pulling our country back together now. (See onenationworkingtogether.org for details).
One important organizing fact that comes out of our experience of being able to organize these buses of people to DC in two short weeks time is that the TCWC and UAW are beginning to collaborate in new and deep ways that bespeak an important development in local labor organizing. As well, this collaboration is a natural development out of TCWC’s growing connection with the Midstate Central Labor Council and its member unions (for example, our ongoing joint work to put on the Annual Labor Day Picnic, this year with its largest crowd, over 500 people, as well as work on the Employee Free Choice Act).
As we know, roughly 90% of our nation’s population is not organized into a labor union; that percentage is probably roughly similar locally. It is these people that the TCWC sees as organizing through our strategies of Support, Advocacy, Empowerment, and Movement-Building. The fact that we have such a strong and locally-based union as the UAW (which represents all the service and building maintenance workers at Cornell, as well as TCAT bus drivers and other employees, Tompkins County Public Library librarians and support staff; Ithaca Housing Authority maintenance staff, and Finger Lakes Library staff) is an important boon for local labor.