UE Young Activists participated Friday in the first day of a two-day Movement Makers Conference, leading up to UE’s 74th National Convention. In the morning the 18 rank-and-file young activists heard a a panel discussion on the Black Lives Matter movement, with a focus on that movement in Baltimore, as well as history of racism and the working class in the United States. Panelists included Dr. Rhonda Williams, history professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland; Dr. Kenneth Morgan who has taught at Coppin State University; and Maryland State Rep. Jill Carter.
Later the young activists were given an organizing orientation by International Representative Steve Bader and Field Organizer Dennis Orton. and then went to an Amazon distribution center where they leafleted and surveyed workers about organizing a union. The Amazon employs approximately 1,000 full-time and several hundred part-time workers, 90 percent of whom are African American. The flyers they handed out included information about UE and the UE convention’s scheduled Monday rally in support of Black Lives Matter and the Fight for 15. They also surveyed workers on what they would improve about their job and many workers gave their names and phone numbers so UE can follow up with them. The young activists will return to the facility Tuesday morning with other UE delegates for further leafleting as part of an organizing workshop.
After the organizing activity, young activists met for a debriefing on their experiences and then attended an evening social with the international labor guests who will be attending the UE Convention.