The protests that have swept our country since the killing of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police in May have put the issue of police violence front and center. The labor movement has a special responsibility to speak out on this issue. Too many of our members have experienced violence and harassment from the police due to nothing more than the color of their skin. All workers who struggle for a better life are threatened when the police are used to violently suppress protest. And just as our country is starved of needed social services due to a bloated military budget, state and local services are underfunded due to overspending on increasingly militarized police forces.
It is with shock and horror that we watched the murder of George Floyd by police officers in Minnesota this week. Along with the recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, it serves as a reminder that Black lives simply do not matter to many of the people who run our society or the police forces who enforce their laws.
This year, we celebrate International Workers Day as the novel coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic has made clear the central importance of workers to our society. It is the labor of frontline workers — healthcare workers, grocery and food workers, sanitation workers and others — that is keeping people alive right now, not the wealth accumulated by capitalists.
As working people and representatives of trade unions, we join environmental activists in marking the 50th anniversary of Earth Day with alarm and concern for the future of our planet. The time to fight for immediate and bold climate action is now, but the needed economic transition will not take place without strong guarantees for worker rights and good jobs for all.
UE officers: In order to bring the COVID-19 public health crisis under control, we must shut down all workplaces except those truly critical to sustaining life; give workers in those critical jobs everything they need to do their work safely and compensate them for the immense risk they are taking; and provide robust economic support for everyone else to allow and incentivize them to stay home.
UE Officers: The People’s Health Demands that Workers Take Action
The rapidly growing COVID-19 pandemic brings into sharp relief how bosses put their own profits ahead of workers' lives, something workers have known for generations.
The proposed replacement of NAFTA, now known as the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), remains a tool for corporate interests and provides insufficient relief to address the problems for working people embedded in the original agreement. At their core, these trade agreements serve to guarantee corporate investments in foreign countries and stop elected governments from passing measures that might impact corporate profitability while offering no real guarantees to workers in exchange.
UE unequivocally condemns the removal of Bolivia’s elected president Evo Morales by the military on Sunday, and the violence carried out by the military and right-wing paramilitary forces against Indigenous people and political activists in that country. This coup is just the latest example of an attack on a progressive Latin American government by “big business forces supported by U.S. administrations”, as denounced by UE policy, attacks which have as their goal the fattening of corporate profits at the expense of the region’s workers and environment.
UE supports the more than 8,000 nurses represented by National Nurses United (NNU) who are on strike today. Nurses are striking for safe staffing, optimal patient care and improved recruitment and retention at 16 different facilities in Arizona, Florida, California, and Illinois.
UE stands in full solidarity with the rank-and-file UAW members on strike against General Motors’ corporate greed.