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Commentary
Two days of hard conversations point the way forward for labor

From the Minneapolis Labor Review, February 19, 2016

By Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou, President,
Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation

February 11 and 12 the MRLF and our People of Color Union Members caucus hosted a visit by the national AFL-CIO’s Labor Commission on Racial and Economic Justice.

Over two days, union members and community members shared powerful testimonies about their experiences in their unions and in their workplaces.
We heard a lot of anger. We heard a lot of frustration.

 But we also came through two days of difficult discussions with hope and optimism for the future of our local labor movement.

POCUM members and others expressed a fierce loyalty to their unions and the labor movement.

They affirmed that union wages, benefits and retirement security — and a voice in the workplace — together have made all the difference in their lives and in the lives of their families.

These are passionate union members!

We struggle every day to encourage union members to become more involved in their local unions and the local labor movement. The People of Color Union Members who spoke out during the Labor Commission’s visit are exactly the people we need to embrace.


We struggle every day to encourage union members to become more involved in their local unions and the local labor movement.

The POCUM members who spoke out during the Labor Commission’s visit are exactly the people we need to embrace.

They’re bringing renewed energy and new vitality to the MRLF and they’re eager to be more involved as leaders of their local unions, too.

I want to thank POCUM members for their commitment to the labor movement and for their inspiration.

Every local labor leader I invited to join in these discussions came, listened and participated. Thank you.

I also thank the national labor leaders from the Labor Commission for facilitating these discussions. They brought us together to talk with each other in new and sometimes difficult conversations.

Now it’s on our shoulders at the local level to continue this work. Not just to talk. Not just to plan. But to move forward together to address issues of racial and economic justice in our unions and in our community.

I ask Labor Review readers: join this effort and bring the best of yourselves to our work together for racial and economic justice.

Contact MRLF president Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou at 612-321-5670 or chelsie@minneapolisunions.org.

 



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