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PEP May 2012
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Public Employee Press

Coalition: labor, faith and community

DC 37 is following a tradition started in 1968 by former AFSCME President Jerry Wurf.

Then, Wurf asked the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to join local clergy and community groups in supporting the union's strike for economic justice for the black sanitation workers of Memphis.

Today, DC 37 is organizing a new initiative to unite labor, faith-based and community organizations.

"The DC 37 Labor, Faith, Community Outreach Program is an exciting opportunity for our members to engage their ministers, rabbis and imams to coalesce with communities and the labor movement around issues such as improving pensions, child care, community safety and gun control," said DC 37 Field Operations Director Barbara Edmonds.

The union hopes this coalition will spread the truth about pensions, health-care reform, public employees and public services, and help dispel the many lies conservative Republicans and mainstream media promulgate that blame President Obama, unions and working families for the current economic downturn.

"Our religious and church-going members will receive special training to become activists and leaders within their locals and liaisons to community-based organizations, churches, mosques and synagogues," Edmonds said.

Already more than 100 DC 37 members and retirees have signed up at the monthly community association meetings organized by the union's Political Action Committee. The union expects many more members and retirees to actively participate in this latest effort by DC 37's parent union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, to reverse the war on workers.

In phases, DC37 will expand its group to work closely with other New York AFSCME affiliates, including Council 1707 and CSEA, and faith-based groups. For more information, contact laborfaithcomgroup@gmail.com and look for the group in coming weeks on Facebook.

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