Did MLK, Jr. take a position on right to work?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

A conservative commentator is disputing the opinion that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was against right-to-work legislation.

One example often cited as evidence of Dr. King's objection is that he was in Memphis, Tennessee, supporting a garbage workers strike at the time he was assassinated.

Stacy Swimp of the black conservative network Project 21 says he has heard the same argument.


"We must understand that that was 50 years ago and there were people who, under the guise of states rights at that time, thought that Jim Crowism was justified or protected under the guise of states rights," he says.

"So what you really had was ... some people in our country who thought that states rights or their concept of right-to-work gave them a right to discriminate against some Americans."

In light of what was happening at that time, Swimp believes Dr. King spoke to his reality and his time.

"If I were living then, I probably would support Dr. King and what he said," he adds. "But we're talking 50, 60 years later. What's the difference? Well, Dr. King didn't have the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to protect workers. They didn't have some of these federal agencies that we have now to protect workers. We didn't have some of these landmark Supreme Court cases, at that time, that we have now to protect workers."

Swimp says people should also keep in mind that King was fighting for people to get jobs -- not whether they would choose to pay union dues, which is what Swimp and other right-to-work proponents say right-to-work legislation is all about.

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