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Florida

Workers Rally Against Union Busters

by Fernando Figueroa |
June 5, 2009
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Union members marching with signs and banners
Workers and union supporters march through downtown Jacksonville, Florida on their way to expose the CUE (Fight Back! News)

Jacksonville, FL - On May 17, 150 union members from around north Florida and southern Georgia gathered outside the Hyatt Regency Riverfront Hotel here to expose a top-secret meeting of CUE - the Committee for a Union-Free Environment. Corporate bosses are trying to stop the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) from passing in Congress, an event that one union buster referred to as “Armageddon.” Unions like the Teamsters, Boilermakers, Electricians, Metalworkers, Carpenters, Plumbers and community and student supporters attended.

After a march through downtown Jacksonville, the workers and their families crowded around the entrance to the Hyatt Regency, demanding that the union busters come out and face people they were trying to suppress. The demonstrators had come to Jacksonville to support the Employee Free Choice Act. The protest exposed the secret anti-union meeting for what it really was: A disgusting example of how corporate America's interests are in stark opposition to the interests of the majority.

Local press arrived on the scene to film and interview the workers’ disruption of the secret meeting. Dustin Ponder, recently fired for organizing a union at a restaurant in Gainesville, asked one of the union busters, “Have your kids ever had to work a minimum wage job?” The union buster was speechless.

The rally succeeded in exposing the otherwise hidden agenda of the corporate big shots attending the meeting and was met by the employees of the non-union Hyatt Regency with enthusiastic fists in the air and shouts of solidarity. It was clear that they, too, wanted the right to organize for better wages, health care, paid vacations and dignity at work. As participant Ben Dictor of Gainesville told the corporate fat cats, “We teach your children, we cook your food, we build your houses and we'll dig your graves.”

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