Defend the Dream Rally 3/15

On March 15th, nearly 100 union and community activists stood in solidarity with public employees in downtown Fairfax. It was a terrific show of solidarity for Fairfax’s public employees who, in the last year, have banded together to lobby for fair treatment at the County level. By forming a solid coalition the S.A.F.E. (Standing Altogether for Fairfax Employees) Committee has been fighting for a budget that prioritizes Fairfax County’s employees and services.

Organized by Move On as part of a national day of action, Tuesday was a chance to rally for a federal budget that defends these same institutions and employees.

Dave Kuebrich, Professor at George Mason University and the event’s organizer kicked things off,

In Virginia the National Republican budget would cut $107 million in Pell Grants for higher education, affecting 178,000 Virginia college students, including thousands right down the street at George Mason University, where I teach.

And it would cost Virginia approximately 19,500 jobs. Let me say that again: In the midst of a crippling recession, Republicans are proposing a budget that would end 19,500 jobs in Virginia.

We have to make a strong statement to Senators Warner and Webb to fight these reckless cuts, to invest in America and to defend the American Dream.

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Steve Greenburg, President of Fairfax County Federation of Teachers, ended his rousing speech with this,

The same people who put out your fires, the same people who protect your property, and the same people who care for your children are the same people who pay property taxes, who vote in this county and who drive up and down these streets.

We make Fairfax work. We are Fairfax County. Fairfax County cares about us and we care about each other.

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Carol Conchar, President of the FCGEU, added,

We stand here today because we are proud to deliver quality public services to the local residents and businesses of this community. We are proud to partner with our local elected officials and community leaders to make Fairfax County a great place to live and work and we’re here today, with all of you, to make sure it stays that way!

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Doris Crouse-Mays, President of the Virginia AFL-CIO, concluded the event by calling out the attacks on public employees as motivated purely by politics,

There was a lot less talk of shared sacrifice and what we can’t afford when Congress voted to extend tax breaks for millionaires.  It seems only when it’s teachers or fire fighters or librarians or nurses or snow plow drivers does the conversation turn to shared sacrifice.

This has nothing to do with deficits, budgets, the economy or job creation. This is about paying back corporate donors by weakening the voice of working people.

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Michael Hairston, President of FEA:

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Ted Kinnaman, Proud Wisconsinite and Professor at GMU:

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