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Statement from Labor Movement in Support of Work Stoppages for Black Lives

Last week’s actions by professional athletes in the NBA, WNBA, NFL, MLB, and professional tennis are a call to action for all of the labor movement.

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, Movement4BlackLives

They remind us that when we strike to withhold our labor, we have the power to bring an unjust status quo to a grinding halt. The status quo--of police killing Black people, of armed white nationalists killing demonstrators, of millions sick and increasingly desperate--is clearly unjust, and it cannot continue. 

As unions representing millions of  workers across the country, we stand in solidarity with our comrades on the courts, on the fields, and in the streets. We echo the call to local and federal government to divest from the police, to redistribute the stolen wealth of the billionaire class, and to invest in what our people need to live in peace, dignity, and abundance: universal health care and housing, public jobs programs and cash assistance, and safe working conditions.

Progressive labor leaders stood with the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. We have a long history of supporting the Black Freedom Movement and we will not stop now. The labor movement and the Movement for Black Lives are each other’s keepers, and we are ready to work together to do what we must to win justice for our people. We support the demands for racial justice echoing throughout this nation, and the simultaneous call for a more just economy. We will use our strength and influence to make sure organized labor is on the right side of history in this moment.

Labor Unions in Support

AFSCME Local 526

AFSCME LOCAL 2822 Hennepin County Clerical

AFSCME 3800

Berkeley Federation of Teachers

Campaign Workers Guild

Chicago Teachers Union

Committee of Interns & Residents/SEIU

Cook County College Teachers Union - Local 1600

CWA Local 1298

Detroit Federation of Teachers

Labor Notes

Massachusetts Teachers Association

Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association

Minnesota Workers United

National Union of Healthcare Workers

New Haven Teachers Association CTA, NEA

NPMHU Local 322

Oakland Education Association

Pittsburgh LCLAA

Racine Educators United (REA-REAA)

Restaurant Opportunities Center of Pennsylvania

Rutgers AAUP-AFT

Saint Paul Federation of Educators Local #28

SEIU Healthcare IL/IN/MO/KS

SEIU Local 509

SEIU Local 73

SEIU USWW

Teamsters Local 251

UFCW Local 7

Unemployed Workers United

UNITE HERE Local 274

UNITE HERE Local 2850

United Auto Workers Region 9A

United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America (UE)

United Teachers Los Angeles

United Teachers of Richmond

United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers Local 36

Young Workers Committee of the Milwaukee Area Labor Council

Individual Labor Leaders in Support*

Kathy Black, CLUW, Philladelphia Chapter (Treasurer; President Emerita)

John Braxton, American Federation of Teachers Local 2026 (Co-President Emeritus)

David Bacon, Pacific Media Workers Guild, CWA Local 39521 (Co-chair, Guild Freelancers)

Doug Bullock, Albany County Central Federation of Labor (First Vice President)

Josh Downey, Denver Area Labor Federation (President)

Paula Lukaszek, Local 1488 WFSE (President)

Nicole Marie Masika, AFSCME 3937 (Secretary)

Heather Messner, DUEA (President)

David Newby, Wisconsin State AFL-CIO (President Emeritus)

Jay O'Neal, Kanawha County Education Association (Treasurer)

John Paul Patafio, TWU Local 100 (Vice President, TA Surface (Brooklyn Buses))

Monica Robinson, AFSCME Local 810 (Secretary Treasurer)

Edgar Romney, Workers United (Secretary Treasurer)

Jeff Sanceri, Peralta Federation of Teachers, Local 1603 (Secretary)

Jennifer Shanoski, Peralta Federation of Teachers (President)

Grace Sweeney-Maurer, Veterans Union Council (Colorado Vice President)

Laura Zucker, Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers (Vice President)

*For brevity, only officers of unions that have not already signed on as unions have been listed here.

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The labor statement in support of work stoppages for Black Lives was created by leaders of national and local unions working with the Movement for Black Lives, Black Lives Matter, and other movement and community organizations as a rapid response to the cascading work stoppages that began on August 26, 2020.

The statement has garnered over 200 signers since beginning circulation on August 27, 2020. Currently only labor unions and individual labor leaders are published, but we encourage all to sign on.

Press Inquiries: Rob Duffey

General Inquiries: Emma Tai