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-Self Determination For Black People In The U.S.; -Free All Black Political Prisoners; -The Murders Must Be Stopped; -Black Lives Matter. Vermont AFL-CIO Position Statement On The Fight Against Racism: Now Is The Time For Unity & Action! June 28, 2020, Montpelier, VT - Black Lives Matter. The Vermont AFL-CIO understands and recognizes that the United States of America is a nation which has long been governed by a ruling class whose power (social and economic) is rooted in slavery, racism, inequity, and oppression. We further see with clear eyes that Black people, whose ancestors were brought to this country in chains, have suffered (and continue to suffer) oppression on a massive and inexcusable scale. Such facts are made plain by not only looking at history, but also by looking at contemporary unemployment figures, poverty rates, average household income, incarceration rates, and through policing data. People who are Black are also murdered by American police officers with sickening regularity. George Floyd was not an exception. He, like Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, Terence Crutcher, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray (to name but a few), was one of the latest in a long line of martyrs going back hundreds of years (and accounting for thousands of taken lives). We must not become numb to these murders. We cannot accept that Black families must educate their children on how to not become the target of unprovoked police violence. We cannot allow systematic racism and police violence against Black people to continue as the regularity that it has always been. Rather, we must resist.

Members of the United Steelworkers (USW) at a steel factory in Columbus, Ohio, had hope when the Trump administration promised to protect their jobs. Fred Silvia, president of USW Local 9309, said: “Initially, we felt the tariffs were going to help us. Unfortunately, there was still steel coming in from overseas and our business just started dropping off.” Production at the steel factory where USW members worked was indefinitely halted in June. “The tariffs were a short-term fix to a long-term problem that we still currently have today.

This election year, America faces interlocking crises—a global health crisis, economic collapse, and systemic racism. Even as we live in fear of disease and economic ruin, we have had to watch the on-camera murders of unarmed Black people by officers who have sworn to protect and serve us. So many of us have stood outside nursing homes and hospitals as our loved ones died inside, alone. In response, we are struggling with despair and asking, Dare we hope for profound change in our public life?

Rev. William Barber, who heads the nonprofit Repairers of the Breach and the Poor People’s Campaign, joined Richard Trumka, president of the country’s largest federation of unions, at the church to announce a formal partnership to work for social, racial and economic justice. Trumka said the labor movement honors the bombing’s four young victims: Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Carol Denise McNair. “But our debt to this community is greater than that,” he said.

As the new professional football season begins, the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) released the first in a series of videos of members speaking out on racial justice. The video focuses on NFLPA members’ activism and their participation in the Black Lives Matter movement. The members shared their perspectives on kneeling and what using their platform looks like this football season. “I had that mindset of I’m going to kneel this year as well.

Fifty-five years ago, in a speech to the convention of the Illinois AFL-CIO, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. laid out with characteristic moral clarity the essential role of unions in American life. “The labor movement,” he explained, “was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress … [When] the wave of union organization crested over the nation, it carried to secure shores not only itself but the whole society. Civilization began to grow in the economic life of man, and a decent life with a sense of security and dignity became a reality rather than a distant dream.”

This Labor Day, America’s working families are facing unprecedented challenges.

COVID-19 continues to ravage our communities, with thousands falling ill and hundreds dying every day. More than 27 million people are receiving some form of unemployment assistance in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, with job losses hitting women and workers of color hardest of all.

As Labor Day approaches and economic conditions in the U.S. remain tenuous, Americans' 65% approval of labor unions is once again the highest it has been since 2003. Public support for labor unions has been generally rising since hitting its lowest point of 48% in 2009, during the Great Recession.

Read the full article in Gallup.

A lack of poll workers can lead to a lack of available polling places ― and voter disenfranchisement. Given that the pandemic has made door-knocking infeasible in so many areas, labor groups are diverting some of that energy and resources to the poll worker cause. “With COVID, door-to-door has gone by the wayside. So this is how we show up for the moment,” said Michael Podhorzer, who leads political strategy at the AFL-CIO labor federation, which includes 55 unions. “It’s a million-person workforce that kind of has to be replaced.