June 3, 2020
First, we must acknowledge that no statement can truly capture the sadness, rage, and despair that many of us have felt over the past several days. No string of paragraphs, no matter how artfully worded, can mend centuries of repression that still have still have undeniable effects on our society today.
At the same time, silence is just not an option. We offer this statement as part of a deeper commitment to the sort of racial, economic, and workplace justice that the best of the labor movement has always strived to win.
The murder of George Floyd, like the deaths of too many others before him, lay bare an uncomfortable truth. Structural racism in this country is still alive. Our collective response must be to reject it, to act against it, and to take part in a massive and explicitly anti-racist workers’ movement.
As we reject racism, we also reject violence. In many cases, the impact of strong and passionate but peaceful protests has been drowned out by violence from fringe actors. Attacks on community businesses and law enforcement hold back the march for justice. Media coverage is not carrying the message of social change, but the pictures of violence and property damage. We all must reject these violent actors and their agenda.
The Labor Movement has been at our most powerful when we understand that our fight for workers’ rights doesn’t begin or end in the workplace. If our fight stopped at the workplace, we’d at best be leaving the work half done, and at worst be indifferent to the way injustices in the workplace are but a microcosm of an unequal society.
Many of the forces stacked against equal rights, equal pay, and social justice also fight against organized labor and working people. Labor and social justice movements share common enemies and we share the struggle to change the balance of power. CWA 1036 is committed to helping build that movement.
The Union must be a great equalizer. Our members receive the same protections, the same wages and benefits, and the same stronger voice at work when they have a union contract that treats everyone the same regardless of race, gender, or economic background. We will always stand together as a Union to fight for the rights of every member.
Right now, that means unequivocally and unapologetically standing for racial justice, standing against violence in any form, and truly acting as a union. When we lock arms with our brothers and sisters, we cannot let our differences divide us.
Words are not enough. Let's move beyond social media posts and support each other with actions not just words. Join a peaceful protest - many are scheduled throughout this week and weekend. Donate time or financially to a civil rights advocacy group. Register everyone in your family and all your friends to vote in this year's election - and then spread the word to your neighborhood, your church, you social groups and more. Be an activist in your union and in your community.