On February 1, 1968 two sanitation workers, in Memphis, Tennessee were crushed to death in an old malfunctioning trash compactor trucks. Sanitation workers in 1968 were expected to work in conditions that were unsafe, paid unfairly and were racially discriminated against all the time. It was the deaths of Echol Cole and Robert Walker on February 1 that lead over 700 of the 1300 black sanitation workers who met on Sunday, February 11 and agreed to strike against the city of Memphis based on unsafe working conditions, unfair pay and discrimination. All 1300 sanitation workers went on strike the next day, February 12, 1968.
On February 1, 2018 AFSCME Council 81 will be holding a Moment of Silence in honor of the two sanitation workers who died while doing a job they were proud to do. We will gather at The Plaza in Wilmington, between the City/County Building and the Carvel State Building on French Street (between 8th and 9th Street) At 12:30. We will be joined by community members, members of the faith community and Labor to hold a moment of Silence. We ask that you join us at 12:30. Cole and Walker made the ultimate sacrifice and 10 days later their coworkers went on strike to gain better working conditions, pay and to end discrimination on the job in Memphis. Please join Council 81 on February 1 as we hold a moment of Silence to remember Cole and Walker.