I covered the immigrant “mega marches” as a freelance reporter in 2006. In response to some horrific, punitive legislation passed by the House of Representatives, millions of immigrants took to the streets of Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, and other cities.
But unions didn’t take advantage of that energy in the streets to build a movement. Instead, union officials reacted—some for, some against—to policies coming from DC.
One multinational company is using Martin Luther King Day to issue a slap in the face to its union, undermining the very legacy of the civil rights leader.
Louisiana-based telecommunications giant Lumen Technologies (formerly CenturyLink) announced to its staff October 23 that it would be newly establishing a company holiday on MLK Day—but for non-union workers only.
The hypocrisy of leaving out 10,000 union workers on MLK Day was not well received by Anna Robbs, an African-American employee and union steward.
The Black Lives Matter uprising has prompted strong statements about racism and police accountability from top union officials, but the participation of the labor movement has been limited. Several internationals have, to their credit, encouraged their members.
More of the initiative to take action has come from below, with local unions and rank and filers organizing or participating in local demonstrations, pushing local governments and schools to shift resources from policing to community needs, and confronting racism in their own workplaces and industries.
The organized labor movement has begun swinging into action to support protests against the racist police murder of Minneapolis resident George Floyd.
Floyd was filmed being suffocated to death under the knee of police officer Derek Chauvin on Monday in a video that reverberated around the country and has sent the Twin Cities into turmoil.
Protesters lit shops and even a police precinct on fire on Thursday as public rage boiled over in Minneapolis’s third precinct over the ever-continuing string of police murders of Black people in the United States.