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Labor 2020 reflections:
Joy, gratitude, and perseverance
From the Minneapolis Labor Review, November 13, 2020

By Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou, President,
Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation

As the 2020 elections begin to come to a close, I am taking away an overwhelming feeling of joy — and an equally overwhelming sense of a job not yet finished. The future of our nation is depending on all of us to come together and continue our pursuit of dignity, safety and economic security for everyone. We will need to organize to make gains for working people, all the way from the White House to our local cities and school districts.

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris took to the stage November 7 and declared victory, promising progress and healing.

I was particularly struck by Kamala Harris’s leadership. Seeing a woman, a Black woman, rise into the White House is inspiring for all women all across our labor movement. Kamala Harris may be the first woman in the White House, but she will not be the last.

As we look ahead to 2021, with a global pandemic and devastating economic insecurity for many families, we know our organizing work is just beginning anew.

Black female union members and Black female organizers are owed a debt of gratitude by our labor movement. They are some of our most skilled organizers and they tirelessly organize within their communities and across our entire movement. Yet, they still fail to receive the same level of recognition and leadership opportunities. This historic representation in the White House matters and needs to be reflected in our union halls as well.

The gratitude of this election extends to the army of local elected officials, local election department workers, and volunteers who ensured every vote counted, amidst the backdrop of an ever-increasingly dangerous pandemic.

In addition to the pandemic, dangerous misinformation campaigns were around every corner in an attempt to suppress the vote. Our front-line election workers must be thanked for protecting our very democracy.

This gratitude also extends to every union member who became involved in this election cycle. The conversations we had in our workplaces, in our neighborhoods and over the phones changed the trajectory of our country and created spaces at the local level to bring positive change for working people.

Every election is difficult for staff and organizers, but the perseverance and flexibility of our Labor 2020 team this year was outstanding. Thank you to our entire team!

We can embrace the feeling of joy in doing our part to elect our AFL-CIO
endorsed ticket, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, but we also need to be honest about the work that lies ahead.

As we look ahead to 2021, with a global pandemic and devastating economic insecurity for many families, we know our organizing work is just beginning anew. Organizing around the ballot box is important, but it’s one small part of empowering workers to be able to control their own destinies and to fully live their lives with joy.

Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou was re-elected December 11, 2019 to a second four-year term as president of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO.

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


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