George Floyd was a worker. For those in the labor movement, police being used to break up our pickets and strikes and frame trade unionists on behalf of the boss is nothing new. Both at home and abroad, the big business elite use militarization to destruct our communities and target black workers. Racism and the divide-and-conquering of the working class is all a profit-driven system knows.
Our affiliate Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) and Local 1005 are leading a response for justice in a time when black workers are hurting deeply. The bus drivers local in Minneapolis and St. Paul issued a bold letter of solidarity with the protesters calling for “a new Civil Rights Movement … that is joined with the labor movement.” ATU President John Costa, representing more than 200,000 transit workers, responded swiftly by calling any use of union labor to transport police to protests “a misuse of public transit.”
All working people must stand with ATU and the black working class at large. Policing is looking more and more like a military operation, and the constant presence of police in black communities is a war occupation. This is bold union leadership on the right side of history.
Meanwhile, in the mainstream press, large defense contractors are continuing their racist hysteria against workers in China, Venezuela, Iran and throughout the globe. Just during this pandemic, the U.S. big business class made $485 billion off of working people, but they have been looting from black workers from around the world for centuries. After all, war is a big business.
The demand is clear: All four of the Minneapolis police officers must be charged and arrested. As a labor movement, it is our duty to stand with the family of George Floyd and all of our black brothers and sisters whose communities have been uprooted by police violence.
Yasemin Zahra Chairwoman Neal Sweeney Treasurer Esmeralda Loreto Secretary