The bedrock principle of the labor movement is that an injustice to one is an injustice to all. We know that when we come together, workers have the strength to demand fairness on the job that we could not do alone. This is why the labor movement has always been at the forefront of fighting for racial justice. As we see with the Black Lives Matter protests around the Country, Americans are again harnessing the power of coming together to demand equality, fairness and dignity. And the fighting Machinists are doing what we always do – fighting for what is right.
In this moment of national reckoning for generations of injustice, our voices are more important than they have ever been. In order to help all Lodges with this crucial fight for justice for all, we have put together this tool kit to provide Local Lodge Human Rights’ Committees with resources to continue the fight to promote dignity, equality and fairness everywhere.
August 28th is the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. It was there that John Lewis spoke from the steps of the Lincoln memorial as the youngest speaker at the event at just age 23. He, of course, shared the podium with Martin Luther King, Jr., A Philip Randolph and other Civil Rights giants. John Lewis’ passion for ensuring justice for all never wavered, not when he was nearly beaten to death on the Edmond Pettis bridge, not when he first ran for Congress, and not even when he was afflicted with pancreatic cancer but none-the-less made sure he stood on the newly painted Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington DC just before he died. John Lewis fought like a Machinist and stood with Machinists. In 2016, in just one example of his advocacy on behalf of IAM members, Lewis publically rebuked a major federal contractor of the U.S. Labor Department that initially refused to negotiate in good faith with members at IAM District 131 in Georgia. Now it is time for Machinists to continue his fight.
The National Action Network will be hosting a live and virtual march to the Lincoln Monument with speeches by the Rev. Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III. Take the March! You can livestream the event, donate, or find out how you can help.
You can also click on this link to sign up to get notifications for how your Lodge can participate in this important virtual March on Washington. The NAACP will lead a virtual March on Washington on August 28, 2020.
These events are occurring in a National Election year when many fear that voters, especially voters of color, will be disenfranchised at the poll due to long lines, lost ballots, draconian voter registration rules.
This is a vital time for Local Lodge Human Rights Committees to help get-out-the vote and ensure that every voter has a fair chance to have their voice heard.
Click on this link if you are interested in training members to be vote-by-mail captains. http://www.democracyinitiative.org/take-action
Have an event to watch the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists “Stolen Votes: The Missing Black Ballots” to learn what you can do to make sure every voter, including those who have been historically disenfranchised, has an equal opportunity to cast their vote.
Why? The census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers, and many others use to provide daily services, products, and support for you and your community. Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other resources based on census data.
The results of the census also determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and they are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.
It’s also in the Constitution: Article 1, Section 2, mandates that the country conduct a count of its population once every 10 years. The 2020 Census will mark the 24th time that the country has counted its population since 1790.
This census year it is more important than ever to be sure that every voice is heard and every person is counted. The Trump Administration has indicated that it will not count non-citizens, even though the Constitution requires that every person be counted.
In addition, the Trump Administration has stated that it will simply stop counting people one full month earlier than it normally does. This undercounting will disproportionately hurt minority communities. Undercounting communities will translate into lost resources for these communities, underfunded schools, poor health care resources, and crumbling infrastructure, all of which are barriers to good middle class jobs. Without an accurate count, minority communities will continue to be oppressed. These numbers cannot be changed once the count is complete and will be effective for the next 10 years.
Lodges can make sure everyone in their communities are counted so everyone gets all the government support they deserve. Click links below to learn how.
Get involved! Encourage all your members to take the census by phone:
English 844-330-2020 / Spanish 844-468-2020 or register on-line
As you know, the Coronavirus pandemic has disproportionately impacted communities of color. Hispanic communities in Arizona, Texas and Puerto Rico, for example, are being particularly hard hit. Your Lodge can host an event to participate in the LCLAA sponsored event on August 18 at 5:00 pm eastern time addressing Puerto Rico From Economic and Natural Disasters to Covid 19 and the Importance of Union Solidarity. Click here:
The NAACP is collecting stories about the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on minority communities. Your lodge can gather stories and report them to the NAACP.
Due to Covid 19’s initial appearance in China, there has been a marked increase in discrimination and harassment towards Asian and Asian American communities related to coronovirus. APALA, the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, has started a Covid-19 Community fund to help those who have lost income due to Covid 19 and those who do not have access to government assistance. Lodges can learn more about this assistance or donate resources
By continuing to be engaged in our union and our communities, we bring the spirit of the fighting Machinists everywhere. We march to ensure people of all races, ethnicities and backgrounds have a fair shot at the American dream of good middle class jobs. We activate to make sure people everywhere have equal access to the polls. We fundraise to feed and protect the communities hardest hit by Covid 19. We answer the call of every workers’ right to breath without the knee of racism on their neck. Together, this union can help change the moral fabric of our nation to ensure it is more just for everyone everywhere. Thank you for all you do every day.