News

-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.

Racial disparities in who contracts the virus have played out in big cities like Milwaukee and New York, but also in smaller metropolitan areas like Grand Rapids, Mich., where the Bradleys live. Those inequities became painfully apparent when Ms. Bradley, who is Black, was wheeled through the emergency room. Early numbers had shown that Black and Latino people were being harmed by the virus at higher rates.

This month’s historic Supreme Court ruling that LGBTQ employees are protected in the workplace by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was another step forward in the march for equality. While there is much to celebrate, this ruling comes as our nation is suffering from centuries-old systemic racism and grieving its latest victims. George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were killed by police officers. Twenty-five-year-old Ahmaud Arbery was gunned down on a run by two white men. We need to say their names, know their stories, and recognize why they were deprived of a full life.

Race-neutral policies simply will not address the depth of disadvantage faced by people this country once believed were chattel. Financial restitution cannot end racism, of course, but it can certainly mitigate racism’s most devastating effects. If we do nothing, black Americans may never recover from this pandemic, and they will certainly never know the equality the nation has promised.

Read the full article in The New York Times Magazine.

America is suffering under the crushing weight of three crises, which are a public health pandemic, an economic free fall, and structural racism. They are knotted together in that untangling one depends on how we untangle the others. For instance, structural racism is deeply ingrained in the share of black workers unemployed and dying from the coronavirus. Today, thousands of working people across the country will join together in a national day of action called the Workers First Caravan for Racial and Economic Justice.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has demanded an investigation from Facebook and a public apology from founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg after an online presentation touted the ability of employers to block the word "unionize" on the company's Workplace platform. "Blacklisting is illegal. Employers censoring their employees' speech about unionizing is illegal," Trumka, the leader of the largest federation of labor unions in the U.S., tweeted on Friday.

The ruling came as demonstrations continued Thursday in both Matamoros and Mexico City demanding the release of Susan Prieto, who faces charges that include inciting riot, threats and coercion. Her case has drawn attention beyond Mexico, including a call for her release issued Wednesday by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on Wednesday. “Susana Prieto is a fierce advocate whose tireless advocacy on behalf of workers in Mexico’s maquiladoras has made her a thorn in the side of powerful companies and corrupt officials,” Trumka wrote.

In early January, before most people in the U.S. had even heard of Covid-19, Bonnie Castillo called a meeting with two trusted health care deputies at the country’s largest union of registered nurses. Castillo was alarmed by news reports about how a virus — so mysterious it didn’t yet have a name — was ravaging Wuhan, China, and asked the union’s director of health and safety and its industrial hygienist to go through some scientific reports. As she listened, Castillo, the executive director of National Nurses United and a former intensive care nurse, grew worried.

As an African American man who lived through the 1960s and now has two sons and three very young grandsons, the specter of systemic racism keeps me up at night. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called my sons during the past week — just to know where they are, to hear their voices, to make sure they are safe. Unless things change, my sons will have the same conversations with my grandsons when they are older. There should be no controversy in declaring that the lives of my sons and grandsons matter. Black lives matter.