Hector Lopez and about 200 other union workers rallied outside the Stamford Government Center on Monday in support of workers’ bargaining rights. The “We Are One” gathering of the Stamford Coalition of Public Service Unions marked the day in 1968 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down.

“The big bankers attack the working class. … I am here for justice,” Lopez said as he waved his sign.

Lopez was doing double duty, supporting not only the Transit Workers Union, but the Puerto Rican Independence Movement as well. He said the two are very similar, fighting against “imperialism” and “discrimination.”  Stamford Unions represented at the rally included the Stamford Professional Firefighters AssociationUnited Auto Workers, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, United Electrical Workers and 1199 Service Employees International Union.

King died on April 4, 1968, while supporting Memphis sanitation workers’ demand to bargain collectively. Monday’s rally was an effort ensure that workers retain the right to bargain for pay and benefits.

Representing the UAW of Stamford was its president, Gloria Kelley, who feared that workers benefits would go back to the way they were 100 years ago. She brought up the Triangle Shirt Waist Factory Fire, which saw the deaths of 143 people, including women and children working for pennies a day.

“Their service, work and dedication are being demonized and degraded by special interests groups wanting to go back to the industrialist era before the Triangle fire,” Kelley said to the rally.

The “We Are One” rally is part of a nationwide campaign that includes events in Boston, New York and other major cities.

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