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AFL-CIO executive council’s ‘Statement on Racial and Economic Justice’ launched commission’s tour

From the Minneapolis Labor Review
January 22, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS — The Labor Commission on Racial and Economic Justice visiting Minneapolis February 12 originated from a resolution passed by the national AFL-CIO executive council nearly one year ago.

February 25, 2015 a statement passed by the executive council declared that “the demand for racial justice cannot be divorced from the fight for economic justice…”

The national AFL-CIO executive council statement continued: “We still live in a world divided in many ways by color lines. At the same time working people share a common experience of falling wages and rising economic insecurity. To build a different, better economy we need power that can only come from unity and unity has to begin with having all our voices be heard, on all sides of those color lines.”

The national AFL-CIO executive council then announced that a Labor Commission on Racial and Economic Justice would conduct six to eight discussion sessions around the nation, examining labor’s own institutional biases and recommending how the labor movement can “become more inclusive as the new entrants to the labor force diversify.”

In a resolution passed June 10, 2015, the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation declared that the MRLF “applauds, welcomes and endorses this important initiative of our national leadership and commits itself to help carry out this effort in every way possible.”

In addition, the MRLF’s June 10 resolution stated that the MRLF “will distribute the national AFL-CIO  statement to all affiliates and allied groups and encourage discussions at all levels on the importance of labor and its allies in playing a leading role in the national effort to overcome racism and  racial injustice.”

The national AFL-CIO executive council’s February 25, 2015 statement came in response to renewed nationwide attention to racial conflict  and racial disparities in the wake of the turmoil in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014.

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka delivered a notable speech in Ferguson, discussing the labor movement’s responsibility and saying “we as a movement have not always done our best to support our brothers and sisters of color who face challenges both on and off the job — challenges that you don’t really understand unless you live them.”

Related stories:
> National AFL-CIO’s Labor Commission on Racial and Economic Justice coming to Minneapolis February 12 to take testimony from rank and file union members
(Minneapolis Labor Review, 1-22-16)

MRLF passes ‘Resolution on Racial and Economic Justice,’ commits to action

(Minneapolis Labor Review, 6-26-15)

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