December 04, 2005
Kurt Gallagher
(202) 639-6491

Federal Workers to Rally for International Human Rights

WHAT: International Human Right Day Rally and Observance
WHERE: 815 16th Street, NW (in front of AFL-CIO headquarters)
WHEN: Thursday, December 8, 11:45 a.m.
WHO: John Gage, AFGE national president
Linda Chavez-Thompson, AFL-CIO executive vice pres.
Bishop John Chane, Episcopal church
Keith Hill, AFGE member (Department of Defense)

WASHINGTON—The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) will join with other labor unions, religious organizations and human rights groups to observe International Human Right Days on Thursday, December 8. The observance will begin with a rally in front of the headquarters of the AFL-CIO (800 16th Street, NW) at 11:45 a.m.. At 12:30 p.m. the rally participants will march to the White House to deliver a letter signed by Nobel Peace Prize laureates, including President Jimmy Carter, former Polish President Lech Walesa, the Dalai Lama and the Reverend Desmond Tutu.

“The right to belong to a labor union, a basic human right recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, has been severely weakened in our nation,” said AFGE National President John Gage. “In America, labor unions played a critical role in securing practical guarantees of human rights, like the right to public education through the passage of child labor laws and the right to a workplace free of discrimination through the enactment of civil right legislation.”

Gage continued, “Union workers typically earn 30 percent more and receive better benefits, like comprehensive health insurance, than their non-union counterparts. It is no coincidence that as union membership has declined nationwide, that incomes have stagnated and benefits, especially health care coverage, have declined.”

International Human Rights Day commemorates the anniversary of the ratification of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948. The declaration recognizes the inherent dignity, equality and inalienable rights of all people as the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. In addition to the December 8 events, this year AFGE will sponsor International Human Rights Day educational programs in two district schools, Duke Ellington School of the Arts and Alice B. Deal Junior High, on December 7.

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 600,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.

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