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Memories of the Memphis Sanitation Strike

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"In the fall of 1967, T.O. Jones and Joe Warren, the first two leaders of the effort to organize a union of sanitation workers in Memphis, Tenn., met with then-Mayor Henry Loeb to recognize and bargain with the almost all-black union, AFSCME Local 1733. As Warren recalls:

"He told us you can have it, but you can never get dues checkoff or recognition. When I told him we would strike, he told me I would be the first one fired.

"But after a two-month strike in 1968, the sanitation workers, many of whom were standing up against white authority for the first time in their lives, won recognition of the union. That victory was the catalyst for change in the paternalistic racist environment in Memphis ..."

Read more at the AFL-CIO website.

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