Since the nation and the world was appalled by the death of George
Floyd in Minneapolis last month, unions and their members have not
only been marching in solidarity, but also finding other unique ways to demonstrate support.
Led by AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre, IUPAT General
President (and MTD Executive Board Member) Ken Rigmaiden, UMWA
President Cecil Roberts and CWA/Association of Flight Attendants
International President Sara Nelson, Washington, DC-area trade
unionists gathered outside the damaged AFL-CIO headquarters on June 8
along the newly named “Black Lives Matter Plaza” to show Labor stands
with those protesting for criminal justice reform.
On June 11, the MTD-affiliated CWA urged its members across the
country to stop work for 8 minutes 46 seconds — the length of time
that Floyd was kneed on his neck by a police officer while begging “I
can’t breathe” — to show solidarity. (CWA is one of about a dozen
AFL-CIO affiliates who represent police and law enforcement officers.)
Choosing a different tactic to show support, the International
Longshoremen’s Association worked with its contracted employers under
the U.S. Maritime Alliance to observe a one-hour work stoppage along
the nation’s docks on June 10.
In addition, the AFL-CIO has issued a statement calling for changes in
the nation’s economic and justice systems to benefit all Americans.