|A group from Bradenton join other protesters at a pro-union march . | Photos by Miriam Valverde/Bradenton Herald|
TAMPA – Six Bradenton residents were among a group of about 500 union supporters who marched through downtown Tampa Wednesday evening raising signs and their voices requesting job security, quality education, and a better living wage.
“Stand up, fight back,” the group chanted through their approximately 1-mile march.
“Middle income families are wasting away,” said Keith Dibell, a Bradenton resident and City of Bradenton employee.
Dibell, sported a hat with the American-flag painted on it and carried a poster with a symbol of a railroad stop sign. In a yellow circle were the photos of the Republican Party presidential nominee Mitt Romney and the vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, a large X was written over their photos. Below were the words “Romney/Ryan The ULTIMATE Train Wreck.”
“The Republican Party wants two classes,” Dibell, 60, said. “The very rich and the very poor.”
The “Welcome to Romney’s America” march hosted by the West Central Florida AFL-CIO included supporters from unions like the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, American Postal Workers Union, and the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union 123.
Some of the signs read; “America Wants to Work,” “Romney Great for ’68,” and “Will Romney outsource my postal job?”
Bill Brooks – AFSCME, president of local 1311, works for city of Bradenton, was wearing Mitt Romney mask.
“If this group (Romney/Ryan) gets put in place, America will need the unions,” said Bill Brooks, president of AFSCME Local 1311. “His main agenda is to get rid of unions so they can have their way with American workers.”
Brooks, a City of Bradenton employee, walked along the march route wearing a Mitt Romney mask.
“Romney is hiding from the same government he wants to run,” Brooks said. “Unions give us the ability to have a voice in what we do as employees. We’re not workers. We are employees.”
At the end of the march, protestors signed a large banner outlining “America’s Second Bill of Rights.”
Their bill of rights had five main civil liberties which they said they should have a right to. The proposed liberties were:
1) Full employment and a living wage
2) Full participation in the electoral process
3) A voice at work
4) A quality education
5) A secure, healthy future