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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.

Longtime labor activist and leader Maria Elena Durazo is a familiar and beloved name to hundreds of thousands of union members and working people. She is vice president for UNITE HERE International Union, which represents more than 270,000 hospitality workers in the U.S. and Canada. And for almost a decade, 2006-2015, she was the first woman elected secretary-treasurer of the powerful Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, representing the interests of more than 300 local unions.

The following commentary was sent to the Vermont House Appropriations Committee and VT Digger.

To the Editor:

Saying workers are buffeted by automation, globalization and robotics, which threaten high joblessness, and firms robbing them of bargaining power to fight back and get jobs in the looming new economy, the AFL-CIO launched a year-long study of the state of work and the state of U.S. unions.

Replying to a mandate from last year’s AFL-CIO convention, the new Commission on the Future of Work and Unions met at federation headquarters on May 3, first in a 3-hour morning public session, and then behind closed doors for the rest of the day.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership died because it ultimately failed America’s working families. Instead of addressing the economic devastation wreaked by wrong-headed trade deals, the TPP doubled down on a failed, corporate-driven ideology.

As walkouts by teachers protesting low pay and education funding shortfalls spread across the country, the small but growing movement to recruit teachers from overseas is another sign of the difficulty some districts are having providing the basics to public school students.

Never before has there been so much labor unrest in America’s public schools. Teachers, understandably angry about low pay and harmful cuts in education resources, have organized statewide walkouts in West Virginia, Kentucky and Oklahoma.

S.53 is going to once again need the support of Vermonters like you to let Montpelier know that universal access to primary care is important to us.

When we fail to invest in public services, living standards decline and communities suffer — overcrowded classrooms, understaffed prisons and more.

But let’s remember what originally made public-sector jobs middle class: labor unions. The right to bargain collectively has allowed millions of public service workers like my father, a Cleveland bus driver and a member of the Amalgamated Transit Union, to live the American dream.