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Center for Labor Research and Education

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Labor Center statement on the recent killings of Black people

Labor Center statement on the recent killings of Black people
Photo: Annette Bernhardt
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Dear Friends,

Like people around the world, we mourn and are outraged by the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. They are the most recent victims in a long history of racist violence in the United States at the hands of the police and vigilantes.

We stand in unyielding solidarity with the Black community’s demands for justice and an end to the policies, practices, and norms of systemic racism that affect every facet of life in this country.

The Labor Center understands that workers are whole human beings whose lives go beyond their workplace and whose work lives are deeply affected by what happens in their communities. When Black people suffer racist attacks in their communities—whether the attacks come in the form of police and extrajudicial violence, or underfunded public education, or exposure to environmental degradation, or mass incarceration—these are workers’ rights issues.

The protests around the country are taking place in a context where Black families suffer from the highest rates of mortality from COVID-19—and where Black workers face endemic inequality in earnings and wealth and unprecedented job losses as a result of the pandemic.

We are committed to supporting all those who fight for economic and racial justice, which are inextricably linked. Unions and other worker organizations play an essential role in this struggle.

Dr. King told us that “the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” It is a moral imperative of the labor movement to take aggressive steps to help bend the arc. We can and must do more.

In Solidarity,

Ken Jacobs, Chair
Steven Pitts, Associate Chair
Brenda Muñoz, Deputy Chair