Union Backs Demand for an End to the War on Black People
SEIU’s International Executive Board passed a resolution today in support of the Movement for Black Lives and their call to end the War on Black People. The Movement for Black Lives has been the driving force behind the protests that have spread to all 50 states and across the globe in the wake of the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.
“We are proud to stand with the Movement for Black Lives and back their demands for justice,” said Mary Kay Henry, SEIU’s International President. “SEIU is committed to being an anti-racist organization and fighting for racial and economic justice. We know that until Black communities and other communities of color can thrive, none of our communities can truly thrive.”
“My patients are a constant reminder of the great inequities our communities face in America,” said Rita Lewis, an RN at San Quentin State Prison. “At the heart of that is unequal access to quality health care, mental health services, education, safe neighborhoods, nutrition, and housing. Those who end up suffering the most are our Black and brown communities. That’s why the issue of racial justice needs to be at the forefront of all of our fights. I am so proud of our union for prioritizing this key issue that others are eager to avoid. The reality is, we can’t move forward together until we address it.”
In the resolution, SEIU commits to supporting the Movement for Black Lives by:
- Supporting their demands at the local, state, and federal levels
- Mobilizing and demonstrating alongside them
- Providing material support
- Working together to hold corporations accountable
- Working within the labor movement to build solidarity around the demand for racial justice
The resolution includes a call to “divest from and demilitarize the police and invest in and build Black communities.” It calls for “dialogue to reimagine the role of police and the criminal justice system,” and declares that “corporations must be held accountable for investing in our communities.”
SEIU members have been greatly impacted by three pressing, simultaneous crises: the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic crisis, and the epidemic of continuous violence against Black people and other communities of color. At this critical moment, SEIU is calling for a reckoning on our economy and democracy to disrupt centuries of racism, generations of corporate exploitation, and decades of anti-union attacks. The service, care, and public workers of SEIU and the Fight for $15 and a Union are committed to creating a just, resilient America in which Black people are safe and cherished and where working people of all races can join together in unions to have a seat at the table to bargain for a better future.