Greenville Sanitation Workers Support Rally Mirrors MLK Jr's Last Stand

By: April Davis/ Chris Jones
By: April Davis/ Chris Jones

This Martin Luther King Junior Day was about action for one local group. The Pitt County Coalition Against Racism marched through downtown Greenville Monday morning.

Martin Luther King Jr. died in Memphis supporting public workers in that city. Monday, during a march through the city and a rally at the courthouse. Members of the Coalition Against Racism spoke out for Greenville's sanitation workers.

Hundreds of people marched through Greenville, celebrating the legacy of a civil rights icon.

"Martin Luther King helped pave the way for a lot of us leaders, and I really look at his life and I think about it and I try to reflect upon it and how to live my life and how to be a servant," said Greenville City Councilman Dennis Mitchell.

They came together to remember Dr. King and to continue working toward his dream.

"This was what the dream was all about: bringing people together," said Rev. Haywood Johnson II.

"So we wanted to really show broad unity, all sorts of economic classes and races coming ou to support Dr. King's legacy and what it means today,"said marcher Adam Linker.

Mirroring Doctor King's support of the memphis sanitation workers in the 60s.. many came out Monday to support the struggles of Greenville's sanitation workers.

"It's the sanitation workers standing up for their rights and saying they wouldn't take it any more." said CAR co-chair Don Cavellini.

9-year city sanitation worker Harold Barnes says the tension that led to a November strike and negotiations with the city that continue 2 months later were not just about a time card for sanitation workers- but for respect.

"We need dignity and respect for each worker. Not only for us, but people are going through the same identical thing and it's time for a change," said Barnes.

As with Dr. King's dream, Barnes says progress has been made, but more needs to be done.

"We already have some policies that's been put on the table, but we still have a long ways to go. A long ways to go," said Barnes.

Barnes says they're hoping for major changes- not only for the sanitation workers, but for other departments in the city.
He says he doesn't know how soon this will be accomplished.

City Councilman Dennis Mitchell says the city feels the sanitation workers provide outstanding service. He says it's a slow process and there won't be any overnight fixes.

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  • by JJ Location: Greenville,NC on Jan 17, 2012 at 10:10 AM A city job is pretty sweet with all the benefits
  • by Anonymous on Jan 17, 2012 at 09:57 AM
    Too many people think they deserve something. Years ago people just worked and did not complain cause they were happy to get a job. They should all be fired and just rehire folks that want to work.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 17, 2012 at 08:59 AM
    I like how the lady on the news said " this just goes to show there is still inequality". If there was a white sanitation worker he would have the same inequality. I am tired of people hwo happen to be of race complaining because they never took teh same opportunities this poor white boy did to work hard and get ahead. I didnt complain- I learned and worked 100 hours a week until I got where I wanted to go. I have some black friends who did the same. Also some hispanic-legal immigrant- friends who also did the same. The only thing holding you back is yourselves.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jan 17, 2012 at 12:57 PM in reply to
      They want to keep up the idea of inequality just to use it as an excuse for everything. I think they get a kick out of it.
  • by Tom Location: ENC on Jan 17, 2012 at 07:53 AM
    Herman Cain needs to talk to these people!They do have a job,like it or not.Give them all a raise and they still would be marching! My Dad never made over 10$ a hour and the only marching he did was in the Army.
  • by smh Location: greenville on Jan 17, 2012 at 06:34 AM
    why must certain people make EVERYTHING about race?!?! the city of greenville has not paid any position a yearly raise for how long? to include all of public works, the police department, city hall, everyone! black, white, one. if you are late to work, you get wrote up. everyone that took a position knew their salary to begin with, PLUS the city just did a research on salaries compared to other city's.... if they aren't happy, there are plenty unemployed willing to have a chance!! black people just seem to make everything a race issue, which makes tension even worse, if that's possible. lord help them! sorry your people ruined your day dr mlk!
  • by Luis Location: Greenville on Jan 17, 2012 at 05:39 AM
    Why does it matter ?
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jan 17, 2012 at 04:06 PM in reply to Luis
      Sure it does, If all the sanitation workers were white, then that would be racist. So yes, it does matter.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 17, 2012 at 04:29 AM
    How many sanitation workers are white?
  • by Luis Location: Greenville on Jan 17, 2012 at 04:22 AM
    If you don't like your job get another one. There are plenty of people that will work for what you get.
  • by MaddMaxx on Jan 17, 2012 at 03:09 AM
    Just show up to work on time,stop calling in sick because you are hung over,and keep your mouth shut and do your job like everybody else has to do.We dont need our trash pick to go up any higher right now so you can get a high pay raise.If you dont like what you do you should not have taken the job to begin with.Go find another one if you guys aint satisfied.So sit,down shut up,pick my trash up and quit ruining my life!
  • by Anonymous on Jan 17, 2012 at 03:00 AM
    There should be equal opportunity to hire white sanitation workers too.
    • reply
      by JJ on Jan 17, 2012 at 08:07 AM in reply to
      If you google Greenville,NC sanitation workers images Sobs there are no white sanitattion workers.Now let's talk racism. Why Why is there not even a token white
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