AFL-CIO Union Summer interns learned what labor solidarity is all about recently when they joined the Portland (Ore.) Day of Rising sponsored by Jobs with Justice. In a series of seven actions in one day, nearly 200 people traveled across Portland to lend support to workers embroiled in contract disputes and to speak out on trade issues.
Kelsey Jorgenson, an intern working with the Communication Workers of America (CWA), said
Portland Rising gave me an experience of true solidarity. I’ve been to many rallies, but this was the first time that I saw people coming together to support each other at multiple sites and taking on other’s struggles as their own.
The stops on the day included:
The group then rallied on and temporarily blocked Hawthorne Street, a major Portland thoroughfare.
For Jillian Balderson, a Union Summer intern who is working with AFSCME, the day was very emotional.
The energy among the working heroes that were standing up to unjust management and the threat of a bad contract was so powerful. We fueled each other. To see the workers stand up to management again and again in a single day was so empowering, even for me who had no contract to gain or lose.
Here’s how Chris Beck, an intern with the Oregon AFL-CIO, summed up the day:
We saw the labor movement at its best and that’s when ordinary workers stand up and have their voices heard and are supported by their community and in short that’s what yesterday was about.