Apr 4, 2011

International worker solidarity gives new meaning to "We Are One" this April 4

Today and all week, at over 1,000 events across America, working families are standing as one to revive Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream for our country and stand up for the middle class. But as American workers come together in the face of unprecedented attacks on our rights, we must also recognize and support workers around the world who are also struggling for their rights and freedoms.

Babul Akhter, worker rights activist at Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity, joins DC's We Are One rally

Today, UFCW had the privilege of hearing from three workers representing different parts of Walmart’s supply chain. The workers (Cynthia Murray – current employee in a Laurel, MD, Walmart store; Robert Hines – former employee in Chicago-area warehouse that supplies Walmart stores; and Aleya Akter – Bangladeshi garment factory worker who sews clothes sold in U.S. Walmart stores) are preparing for their last stop on the Walmart Worker Truth Tour. Their shared experiences show just how interconnected workers across insutries, states, and oceans truly are in today's globalized world.

Accompanying Aleya as she shares her story with U.S. workers and consumers are Bangladeshi worker rights advocates Kalpona Akter and Babul Akhter, who have inspiring stories of their own. Kalpona and Babul are respected labor rights leaders from the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity (BCWS) who, in August, were seized in a witch hunt against worker rights advocates and imprisoned on unfounded criminal charges filed by the Nassa Group, a major supplier Walmart. These peaceful labor leaders were targeted as “terrorists” and unjustly jailed and beaten for inciting worker unrest.

Even as they face potential life sentences, or even death, Kalpona and Babul took time out today to stand in solidarity with U.S. workers as we stand in defense of our rights, and of the dream Dr. King was fighting for the day he died. Just hours before the last event in the Walmart Worker Truth Tour, they joined the We Are One rally in Washington, D.C., lending international support and solidarity to workers across the U.S. who are bravely fighting for their rights.

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