Protesters silently show support for collective bargaining

Staff writerApril 4, 2011 

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Adam Linker, of The N.C. Justice Center, demonstrates with about 200 people in support of collective bargaining and public sector workers during a silent demonstration Monday, April 4, 2011, in front of the N.C. state legislature building. The event coincided with 43rd anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

TRAVIS LONG - TLONG@NEWSOBSERVER.COM — TRAVIS LONG - tlong@newsobserver.com

— A lunch-hour crowd of about 200 pointed protest signs towards Jones Street in Raleigh today in a silent show of support for collective bargaining and public sector workers.

The noon event, on the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., was a quiet insistence that union rights and related issues like worker's compensation be protected. Protesters stood silently for 15 minutes Monday, their signs pointed towards legislative offices.

Protesters held signs aloft reading "I am a citizen" and "Collective bargaining for all," the quiet broken only by passing traffic, the rustling of tree branches in the wind, and the occasional bark of one protester's dog.

Once complete, protesters clapped, roared and chanted "We are one!"

Michael Holtz of Havelock came to Raleigh on his day off to show his support for collective bargaining. A letter carrier in New Bern, Holtz has long enjoyed the benefits of union representation, he said.

"Our union has worked well," Holtz said of the National Association of Letter Carriers, for which he has served as a union steward. "It's one of the best things to ever happen to me."

The protest was organized by the state AFL-CIO, which has identified worker's compensation, health care reform, a voter ID bill and other issues as key in the current legislative session.

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