Wednesday, October 5, 2011

LFT Marches in Solidarity with Shipyard Workers

The Louisiana Federation of Teachers marched October 1 in solidarity with workers at Avondale Shipyard in New Orleans, which is under threat of closing. LFT leaders from around the state made the trek to New Orleans to show support for the shipyard.

It was a true Second Line parade, with marchers stepping out behind the Treme Brass Band and a grand marshal replete with umbrella, all members of the musicians' union. Hundreds of workers and community supporters met at the Superdome and marched down Poydras Street for a rally at the federal building.

The shipyard workers live in Jefferson Parish and surrounding communities, and their children attend local public schools. Educators already are seeing the ravages of past rounds of budget cuts and the effect they have on students. If the shipyards close, this dire situation will become even worse, so AFT members are doing their best to be there for the workers and their families. (More information about the fight to save Avondale is available online .)

"We all need Avondale, and American business needs more ships," said United Teachers of New Orleans President Larry Carter. "We want to know what elected leaders and the Avondale owners are doing to keep the shipyard open. Our community, our students and our jobs depend on it."

Teachers and school support personnel alike realize that the shipyard's closing would hit the New Orleans area economically and harm the public schools, said Laura Harper, PSRP chair of the Jefferson Federation. "Many of our members have spouses who worked at the yard and have already been laid off," she said. "They can't find other jobs, so they are living on unemployment and the salary of the PSRP member, which tops out, for a paraprofessional, at $23,500.”

See more photos of the march in our Facebook album. Please click here.

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