Workers United Upstate NY: Black Lives Matter

Workers United in Upstate New York stands with Black Lives Matter. We mourn for Rayshard Brooks, Michael Thomas, George Floyd, Dion Johnson, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and all other Black people murdered by police. We commit to fighting white supremacy and fascism in all their forms.

As Angela Davis said, “In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.” To this end, we reject allyship and call for solidarity. Now is not the time for performative gestures, like the statements so many union-busting companies have released, but for actions that demonstrate the truth that an injury to one is an injury to all.

At its proudest moments, the labor movement has united workers of all races and identities in the class struggle. This is what we must work toward. However, it is not an automatic result of organizing. Our history also reveals many times when unions have valued whiteness over class solidarity. In order to fulfill our mission of fighting for our members and for the entire working class, we must recognize and eliminate white supremacy within our own ranks.

We further believe that conflating our mission with that of police unions undermines our solidarity, the principle we must hold dearest. Modern police departments evolved from vigilante groups and slave patrols. White supremacy within policing cannot be blamed on individual “bad actors,” but must be understood as central to the institution itself. This origin also exposes the fact that policing was always intended to protect bosses’ “property” — which then meant human beings — and to suppress workers’ rights. Therefore, we urge the labor movement to cut ties with police unions. The AFL-CIO has said it supports Black Lives Matter. We join the Writers Guild of America, East, and their supporters, including Association of Flight Attendants president Sara Nelson, in calling on the AFL-CIO to make good on its word by expelling the International Union of Police Associations. We recognize that the fact that Black people are disproportionately working-class makes failing to be anti-racist and supporting police unions an even greater betrayal of working-class struggle and unity.

Finally, as the government attempts to designate anti-fascism as terrorism and as police question protesters about their political beliefs, we want to make it clear: We are Antifa. Fascism seeks to ban unions and prevent workers from organizing. It entrenches white supremacy and class domination. It is the ultimate threat to the working class. We have no other option but to be anti-fascist. We exist to defend workers against bosses, whose “property rights” are backed by the power of the state. The real looters are not poor people; the real looters are the wealthy who steal our labor for pennies. When they try to crush our movements, we fight back. We were Antifa when the bosses’ hired mercenaries and their police and National Guard collaborators murdered union workers and their families in places like Thibodeaux, Butte, Lawrence, Ludlow, and Blair Mountain — and when we resisted. We will continue to resist all efforts to destroy our solidarity, uphold white supremacy, and weaken the power of the working class.

In solidarity,

Gary Bonadonna Jr

Jaz Brisack

Rafael Acosta

Kari Aldrich

Ana Maria Alicea

Zach Anderson

Joyce Angelo

Emily Belle

Richard Bensinger

Vincent Bertolone

Julie Black

Dustin Block

Taylor Boyer

Leona Brown

Lamont Bryant

Zoe M. Burk

Desiree Calloway

Al Celli

Phoenix Cerny

Sabrina Chatman

Ross W Clark

Kyle Cody

Joseph Conway

Kathy Costello

Kathrine Coward

Michelle Croce

Richard Crowder

Vincent Cruciata

Grace Dana

Ronnie Daymon

Elaine DeForte

Andrea Delvecchio

Shaylak K. Diaz

Judy Doctor

Rachael Dollinger

Sarah Dugan

Courtney Dupre

Molly Etzel

Bart Feberwee

Katrina Fletcher

Kim Francis

Lucas Fredericks

R.J. Gavadin

Abby Gilbert

Debbie Glinski

Michael R Greco

Tracy Harris

Garrett Hoffman

Celinda Holmes

Sheree L Hudnell

L. Bruce Jackson

Cory Johnson

Rondayia Johnson

Darryl Joye

Aidan Kaplan-Wright

Kay Kennedy

Sonya Kittles

Philip Kneitinger

Byrne Kolega

Kathy Krafft

Angel Rose Kuykendall

Deion Kuykendall

Derrick Kuykendall

Barbara Leclair

Peter Leipzig

April Marie Lewis

Verdina Lightfoot

Willie J. Lightfoot

Anthony Locurto

Rolanda Lott

Ava Mailloux

David Mangan

Matthew Martinen

Kimmy Martinez

Samantha Mason

S. Mazur

Krista McCabe

Michael McGrinder

Lauren McLaughlin

Aretha Maxwell Mclamore

Melinda K Miller

Brian Millet

Laurýn Tamar Minter, PhD

Kristopher Mulvaney

Mike Napierski

Salina Nesmith

Joseph Nicholas

Raine Oakley

Cassandra OBrien

Timothy O’Donnell

Yomaira Otero

Wanda Parris

Kayleigh Patnella

Vanessa Patterson

Clayton Pitcher

Catoria Pittman

Julian Pompilio

Christopher J. Powderly

Rosalind Randolph

Charley Rawlings

Christina Riccio

Randy Ritz

Irving Rivera

Melissa Rivera

Sid Roberts

Diana Rodriguez

Linda Rodriguez

Kristin Ross

Paul Schojan

Lace Seiders

Monika Shelton

Mark Sidebotham

Colleen Silvernail

Tyesha Sisson

Robin Solomon

Killian Steiner

Angie Strasser

Ken Strasser

Jaby Thomas

Robert Thompson

Linda Thornton

Lillian Tomik

Emily Vick

Rob Vitello

Tywanda Walker

Dane R. Weisbeck

Lyla White

Olivea Wiggins

Angela Williams

Heather Williams

Erin Young

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