A coalition of community and labor organizations, activists and leaders from the faith community announced Tuesday that they will be hosting an interfaith prayer vigil for Chattanooga workers and their right to organize a union. The candlelight vigil will be held Thursday, beginning at 6 p.m. in the Main Terrain Art Park near the Chattanoogan hotel in downtown Chattanooga. The vigil will be held near the 13th Street side of the park.
"Workers at the Volkswagen factory in Chattanooga have already passed a majority vote in support of unionizing and having a voice in the management of the plant that they work at," said Patricia Bazemore with Chattanooga for Workers. "We, the local community of Chattanooga, are coming together to pray for our local workers in a show of support for them and their attempt to unionize."
Leaders from several area churches will be speaking at the event about why people should support workers and unionization. The Northern and Southern Baptist Conventions, Catholic Church, Church of the Brethren, Congregational Christian Churches, Disciples of Christ, Evangelical and Reformed Church, Jewish Synagogue, Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church U.S.A., Protestant Episcopal, United Lutheran Church in America, United Church of Christ, the Unitarian Universalist, and the National Council of Churches (representing 33 million Protestants) all have official doctrines in support of the rights of workers to organize and engage in collective bargaining with their employers, officials said.
"At retail centers and factories all across the nation, our friends and family members are organizing to win the dignity of living wages and worker representation," said Pastor Brian Merritt of Mercy Junction. "This vigil will help to spread love, light and solidarity with our workers right here at home that are fighting to win unionization."
"Politicians and out-of-state corporate consultants should not be involving themselves in the decisions of our locals workers," said Patricia Bazemore. "That is why we have pulled together community groups and leaders from many different faiths to offer a non-sectarian prayer in support of all workers and their right to organize and have a say in their own conditions."
The Main Terrain Park runs between 13th St & Main St and Broad & Chestnut. Parking is available on Main and Chestnut. There is also a parking garage accessible from 13th Street, directly across from the park. Organizers are preparing for all conditions of weather and will have covering ready in case of rain.