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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

Racial & Economic Justice / AFL-CIO

Membership Voices
Friday, February 12
7:30-9:45 a.m.
For union members only

RSVP required
See story below

Town Hall Forum
Thursday, February 11
6:00-9:00 p.m.
For union members AND community members

RSVP required
See story below

From the Minneapolis Labor Review
January 22, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS — The Labor Commission on Racial and Economic Justice, established by the national AFL-CIO, will be coming to Minneapolis Friday, February 12 as part of an eight-city tour around the nation.

The Commission will take testimony from rank and file union members and meet with leaders of Minnesota unions.

In addition, in conjunction with the Commission’s visit, the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation will host a “Town Hall Dinner” Thursday, February 11 to seek broader input from union members and from community members.

The Commission’s tour is part of the AFL-CIO’s response to renewed nationwide attention to racial conflict  and racial disparities in the wake of the turmoil in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014.

Minneapolis — now recognized to have some of the worst racial economic disparities in the nation — became part of the tour at the urging of the People of Color Union Members caucus of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation.

The Commission invites rank and file union members to participate in a “Membership Voices” session from 7:30-9:45 a.m. Friday, February 12 at the United Labor Centre, 312 Central Ave., Minneapolis.

Rank and file union members, particularly people of color, are invited to share their concerns and experiences with racial disparities, including issues experienced within their union and the labor movement.

“We are looking for solutions to make our unions better,” said KerryJo Felder, MRLF community organizer, who staffs the POCUM caucus.

“We’ve got presidents of international unions coming to hear from our members about issues they have based on race, based on economic justice,” said Mike Zagaros, president of Branch 9 of the National Association of Letter Carriers, speaking at the MRLF January delegate meeting. “What we’re asking is for you to spread the word.”

Union members who wish to participate in the February 12 “Membership Voices” session with the Labor Commission on Racial and Economic Justice need to RSVP to Kerry Felder at 612-321-5669 or kerry@minneapolisunions.org.

The event will include a free breakfast.

For union members who cannot attend the February 12 event, the MRLF also will be taking testimony to share with the Commission at the “Town Hall Dinner” planned Thursday, February 11 from 6:00-9:00 p.m. at the United Labor Centre.

This event also will be open to non-union community members who may want to contribute to the conversation.

A free dinner and childcare will be provided.

Anyone who wishes to participate in the February 12 “Town Hall Dinner” session must RSVP to Kerry Felder at 612-321-5669 or kerry@minneapolisunions.org.

Related stories:
>AFL-CIO executive council’s ‘Statement on Racial and Economic Justice’ launched commission’s tour
(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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