Quantcast

Thousands Shut Down Chicago Streets Protesting ALEC Agenda

Energy

People's World

By John Wojcik

Thousands of union and non-union workers and their allies shut down the streets around the posh Palmer House Hilton here yesterday, protesting the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) meeting at the hotel. The demonstrators, organized by the 500,000-member Chicago Federation of Labor (CFL) and a host of community allies, say ALEC is hurting just about everyone in America who is not part of the top one percent.

Photo courtesy of People's World

ALEC is behind hundreds of bills its lawmaker members push through state legislative bodies—bills that destroy collective bargaining rights, lower wages, limit voting rights, weaken environmental protection—and it is behind the notorious "stand your ground" laws backed by the National Rifle Association.

Outside the hotel, on Monroe Street, the Musicians Union Band played "When the Saints Go Marchin' In" as wave after wave of members from every union in Chicagoland filled the sidewalk and the street.

Elevated Chicago Transit Authority trains passing along the Wabash Ave. blew their horns in support as hundreds who couldn't fit on Monroe Street spilled out to the adjoining street under the train trestle. The crowds roared every time they heard the train operators blow the horns.

"This is a beautiful gathering not just of union workers and non-union workers but of all our allies as well—a true coalition," declared Bob Reiter, secretary-treasurer of the CFL, in his speech to the cheering crowds.

"ALEC thinks they can, in secret, take over the democratic process and write our laws for us," Reiter continued. "They are wrong and we are here to show them that."

"Save the workers, save the teachers, save the students, save the youngsters, save the carpenters, save the janitors and the machinists—save all your people," the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. implored from the podium. The crowd shouted approval after each group he mentioned.

Among the demonstrators against ALEC was Melissa Rakestraw, a letter carrier from Schaumburg, IL.

"You know that $5.5 billion mandate with Congress forcing the postal service to pay that out for future pensions?" Rakestraw said, explaining why she came to protest. "That's what's killing the post office and it was John McHugh, a Republican congressman—a member of ALEC—who pushed that through years ago. ALEC has its deadly fingers everywhere."

Kimberly Bowsky, a teacher at Seward Elementary School in Chicago's Back of the Yards neighborhood, was also intent on voicing her opposition to ALEC, "I see the scars in my neighborhood. I haven't lost my job yet, but I know these people are out not just to cut services but to kill public education altogether."

"It's got to stop," Bowsky concluded. "That's why I'm here."

Visit EcoWatch’s ENERGY page for more related news on this topic.

——–

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pixabay

By Claire L. Jarvis

A ruckus over biofuels has been brewing in Iowa.

Read More Show Less
Serena and Venus Williams have been known to follow a vegan diet. Edwin Martinez / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Whitney E. Akers

  • "The Game Changers" is a new documentary on Netflix that posits a vegan diet can improve athletic performance in professional athletes.

  • Limited studies available show that the type of diet — plant-based or omnivorous — doesn't give you an athletic advantage.

  • We talked to experts about what diet is the best for athletic performance.

Packed with record-setting athletes displaying cut physiques and explosive power, "The Game Changers," a new documentary on Netflix, has a clear message: Vegan is best.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
An illegally trafficked tiger skull and pelt. Ryan Moehring / USFWS

By John R. Platt

When it comes to solving problems related to wildlife trade, there are an awful lot of "sticky widgets."

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE

Inflammation can be both good and bad.

On one hand, it helps your body defend itself from infection and injury. On the other hand, chronic inflammation can lead to weight gain and disease.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Dan Nosowitz

It's no secret that the past few years have been disastrous for the American farming industry.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

By Gavin Van De Walle, MS, RD

Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil and coconut oil are fats that have risen in popularity alongside the ketogenic, or keto, diet.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Bijal Trivedi

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report on Nov. 13 that describes a list of microorganisms that have become resistant to antibiotics and pose a serious threat to public health. Each year these so-called superbugs cause more than 2.8 million infections in the U.S. and kill more than 35,000 people.

Read More Show Less
Rool Paap / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE

Inflammation can be good or bad depending on the situation.

Read More Show Less