(previously posted at http://www.seiu.org/2014/01/mlk-85th-birthday.php)
On this day in 1929, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born.
No single person has made greater contributions toward the advancement of both the civil rights and labor movements than Dr. King—and his inspiring words about labor resonate just as fiercely today as they did half a century ago.
He saw strengthening unions and lifting up workers as critical to achieving long term justice for African Americans and helped motivate hundreds of thousands of activists, both black and white, through his speeches and the example he set.
As we celebrate the anniversary of Dr. King’s 85th birthday, listen to one of the last speeches he gave to 1199SEIU and other union members and supporters about continuing the fight for social and economic justice:
The San Antonio City Council proposed a number of budget cuts to vital public and community services in the last few weeks including cutting the staff of Crisis Response Teams (CRTs) that assist domestic violence victims and cutting back on hours and services at libraries, recreation centers, and pools.
SEIU members took these cuts as a call to action and joined neighborhood activist, community members, and co-workers to stand up against domestic violence and other cuts to community services – and they won.
The City Council received the message loud and clear, restoring cuts to CRT teams to continue providing services to domestic violence victims, parks, libraries and programs for children and seniors.
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Dangerous Understaffing inside Animal Control Services Threatens Public Safety
San Antonio Animal Care Services (ACS) employees are taking action to protect residents from the public health and safety threats posed by our city’s growing stray dog crisis. During a session of City Council’s Citizens to be Heard, Animal Care Officers (ACO’s) gave first hand accounts of the astounding understaffing endangering the public daily. Under current ACS mismanagement, thousands of calls for help go unanswered, bites are on the rise, and residents have resorted to trapping animals themselves.
“We are dangerously understaffed,” said Gabriel Rodriguez, Animal Care Officer with five years of service to San Antonio. “I am deeply concerned that ACS is failing in our mission to protect our citizens. We received 7,600 calls for help in April–the vast majority of which we could not respond to at all.”
With only 13* Animal Care Officers assigned to catch strays and respond to calls for all of San Antonio and Bexar County, the public is at-risk. Already in 2013, there have been 1,894* animal bites—the vast majority by dogs. By comparison, Houston had only 1,265 bites in all of 2012. At this rate, our city is on track to have three times the amount of animal bite victims than Houston, despite having 300,000 more residents.
“Every weekend in April there were only two Animal Care Officers deployed for the entire county with 100,000 strays on the streets. Current ACS management is absolutely not focused on the public safety aspect of our mission. We ask that this Council and the public please stand with us to treat stray dogs as a public safety crisis.” said Animal Control Officer Thomas Stowers.
This speak out at City Hall is part of a summer-long campaign to educate the public on the dangers posed by the stray dog crisis and bring about reform to ACS.
As the Senate closes in on its immigration reform proposal, SEIU members in Texas have joined tens of thousands of people across the country to support reform that will strengthen our families, our communities and our country.
As a huge rally in Washington, DC was lifting off, hundreds of Texans in Houston, San Antonio and Dallas marched, delivered petitions and spoke directly to elected officials in their home towns about how important this legislation is.