CHICAGO – Leaders of the Chicago Federation of Labor released the following statement in response to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the ongoing protests in and around Chicago:
“The labor movement must stand up and speak out against the injustices facing Black Americans today,” said Mack Julion, Chicago Federation of Labor Executive Board member and President of Branch 11 of the National Association of Letter Carriers. “We have been shocked by the most recent examples of racism in our country, from the killings of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, to the harassment of Christian Cooper in New York City, and now the horrific murder of George Floyd in broad daylight. These incidents, combined with the consistent rhetoric of hate coming from Donald Trump and the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, have created a sense of hopelessness that is fueling the unrest in Chicago and around the country. And while property can be restored, a life lost cannot. We must come together as a labor movement, as a city, and as a nation to finally address systemic racism in all its forms and peacefully find a way to bring back hope for too many in despair.”
“It hurts me to my heart to see what happened to George Floyd, but it also hurts to see peaceful protest overshadowed by destruction in our great city,” said Rosetta Daylie, Chicago Federation of Labor First Vice President. “I urge those who want to create chaos to think of their parents and grandparents, and try to find a way to channel their anger into something positive. I hope those demanding change in the streets of Chicago will also demand change at the ballot box in November, so we can rid ourselves of the hate coming from the White House.”
“We all must confront the racism pervasive in America today,” said Greg Kelley, Chicago Federation of Labor Executive Board member and President of SEIU Healthcare. “The Chicago labor movement stands with George Floyd’s family in demanding justice. While we all have been shocked to see the rage in the streets of our city, it is far more important to understand and combat the underlying racism that fuels the unrest. This racism takes many forms, from the senseless murder of Black Americans to the outsized devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic to the disgusting rhetoric coming from Donald Trump. For our city and our country to heal, we must confront this racism in all its forms.”
“Far too many Black Americans have been murdered without any change in our society,” said Bob Simpson, President of the Chicago Chapter of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists. “It is the responsibility of the labor movement to bring people together and lead the fight against racism in all its forms. I call on our sisters and brothers in labor to lead the way, and demonstrate how to peacefully advocate for real, lasting change.”
“The Chicago labor movement mourns the senseless murder of George Floyd and demands justice for the Floyd family,” said Bob Reiter, President of the Chicago Federation of Labor. “Though by no means perfect, the labor movement has a long history of fighting against racism and discrimination, and we have much more work to do. We hope that George Floyd’s death will be a catalyst for desperately needed change in our city and country. We cannot let the destructive actions of a few people distract us from the injustice facing millions of Black Americans, and we all must rededicate ourselves to peaceful means of activism to finally address systemic racism in our country.”
The Chicago Federation of Labor is the third-largest central labor council of the AFL-CIO representing nearly 300 unions and labor organizations comprised of half a million union members in Chicago and Cook County.