WHEREAS, racism is one of the greatest evils of capitalism in this country and around the world, and has always been a roadblock to building a strong labor movement. Racism is a specific aspect of institutionalized systematic oppression and exploitation based upon capitalism’s “white supremacist” myths, false beliefs and distortions that Blacks, Latinx and some other groups of people being inherently and biologically superior to others. Racism and white supremacy around the world and inside the U.S. are the means capitalists developed for the purposes of exploitation and oppression, stealing and robbing nations land, resources and power as well as stealing and destroying their history and culture! It is also a means of dividing the working class and justifying its brutal system of coerced labor called slavery, vigilante murders, police brutality and murders, as well as economic and political suppression of oppressed people’s power.
WHEREAS, the persistence of institutional racism affects all peoples of color, and is evident in the economic and social oppression and exploitation experienced by African Americans, in particular. African-American high unemployment rate, working conditions and pay remains disproportionately low. On average, African Americans are twice as likely to die from disease, police murders, accident, and homicide as whites. African Americans are three times more likely to become prisoners once arrested, and serve longer terms. Racists and white supremacists blame the victims of these conditions, rather than blaming the capitalist system that creates these conditions and injustices.
WHEREAS, Donald Trump, who has shafted working people throughout his business career and has stacked his cabinet almost entirely with white, male, anti-worker Wall Street cronies, owes his election in part to pervasive racism, white supremacist and anti-immigrant sentiment. Trump’s scapegoating of Latino immigrants and Muslims and open appeals to racism have made our nation a more violent and dangerous place for all working people, especially for Muslims, immigrants, Blacks and people of color. He has issued many executive orders banning Muslims from seven countries from entering the country, even those with a green card, and refusing entry of refugees from Muslim-majority countries. He has also given the green light for aggressive deportation of Latino and other immigrants. He has taken actions, given words of support and political space for today’s neo-fascist and populist white nationalist movement.
WHEREAS the Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis, Proud Boys, boogaloo movement and various other organized white supremacist groups operating under the guise of the “alt-right” embraced Trump as their candidate and have been emboldened by his 2016 victory. In August 2017, thousands of these white supremacists descended on Charlottesville. They later, in 2020, did the same, attacking a Black Lives Matter peaceful in Minneapolis protest to create an atmosphere for violent actions which claimed the lives of many.
WHEREAS The “Great Lie” started by Trump and others lead this movement to violently descend on the US Congress on January 6, 2021 to attempt to overturn the election results and undermine the democratic will of the people.
WHEREAS, people of color, especially African Americans, are more likely to be stopped by police, searched, arrested, and become the victims of police and vigilante violence as exemplified by tragic murders in mass shooting in Buffalo, NY, Uvalde, TX, and of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. The murder of countless people of color by police is outrageous and is a common practice. This is not merely the result of individual racist police officers but of a widespread, systematic disrespect for the lives of Blacks and people of color.
WHEREAS, police brutality and state repression continues to deepen and broaden, being further encouraged by Trump and his supporters. In speeches to police, Trump openly encouraged law enforcement to be violent with those they arrest, repeatedly referring to people suspected of crimes as “animals.” Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former AG William Barr have overturned and halted Justice Department pursuit of court orders to address racist abuses by local police departments.
WHEREAS, in response to continued police violence against African Americans in recent years, Black Lives Matter has become a mass movement. After the police murdered George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, polls in summer 2020 estimated that between 15 – 26 million people had participated in the demonstrations in the United States, making the Black Lives Matter protests the largest movement in U.S. history. Since the election of Trump, millions of people in the US have taken to the streets to oppose Trump’s so-called “Muslim ban,” his stepped-up war against immigrants, and the racist far-right. UE Local 150 members also marched and bravely stood up to white supremacy, hatred, racism, and violence.
WHEREAS the unity of Black and oppressed nationalities and nations with the working-class can never be taken for granted. Winning depends upon our success in the fight against capitalism’s white supremacy and racism. UE150 and the wider labor movement is not immune from racism. We must consciously work to overcome racism in our workplaces, communities, society and world among a diverse working class.
WHEREAS the Durham City Workers Union chapter played a critical role in 2021-2022 in creation of a new Community Safety Department allowing dispatch of social workers, EMT’s and mental health workers to 911 calls rather than armed police. In 2019 they won over $2 million proposed to hire new police re-directed to pay all part time city workers a living wage of $15 per hour, with support from the Durham Beyond Policing coalition.
WHEREAS in the spring of 2022 the Raleigh City Workers Union chapter of UE150 joined Refund Raleigh Freedom Committee, Muslims for Social Justice, NCBL, BWFJ and other allies to collaborate, mobilize and participate in several community electoral candidate forums and at the Raleigh City Budget Public Hearing to challenge the city’s bloated police budget and the inadequate funds allocated for city workers wages, affordable housing and community services.
WHEREAS again in the Fiscal Year 2023 Budgets passed by city governments across the state, they continue to give larger raises to police than other essential workers in solid waste, water, sewer, transportation and parks. For instance, incoming police received a 12% raise in Raleigh, as opposed to 2% for other workers.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT THIS 12TH UE150 STATEWIDE CONVENTION:
- Reaffirm our policies of aggressive struggle against racism, white supremacy, white skin privilege and in support of human rights and fundamental democratic rights;
- Call on our chapter leaders to defend our members aggressively against on-the-job racism and discrimination;
- Will develop pressure campaigns against any employers that discriminate against people of color in their workplace, including in promotions, hiring practices, wages and otherwise;
- Declares its support of workers and their communities’ fight against divisive racist terror and to reallocate funds from over-bloated police departments to the needs of workers and our communities;
- Opposes the assault on affirmative action;
- Calls for continued workshops on racism and discrimination at all levels of our union;
- Calls for elimination of racial profiling, police brutality, and “stop-and-frisk,” and a repeal of “stand-your-ground” laws and supporting movements to re-allocate funds from police departments to workers and our communities.
- Urges the union at all levels to support and work with local organizations like Southern Workers Assembly, Black Workers for Justice, NAACP, Pitt County Coalition Against Racism, National Conference of Black Lawyers -NC Chapter, Southern Movement Assembly, New Bern Peoples Assembly, Durham Beyond Policing, Refund Raleigh Freedom Committee, Poor People’s Campaign, Raise Up/Fight for $15, the national Movement for Black Lives and other organizations fighting racism and discrimination;
- Condemn all attacks on the basis of ethnicity and religion, particularly those on Arab-Americans, Muslims and Latinxs;
- Call on the UE 150 union at all levels to make our members and communities aware of the increase of hate groups in our workplace, communities, county and country, to provide information to help them to recognize and combat all forms of hate, and to expose racism in the media;
- Urge our sector councils (DHHS/UNC/Municipal/CAAMWU) to all set up regular monitoring of the above;
- Demand strict enforcement and just punishment for violation of existing and advancing old and new anti-discrimination and hate laws;
- Urge the union movement to expose and condemn racially biased and selective reporting which blames people of color for the poverty they are suffering as a result of government and corporate policies.
Submitted by the Durham City Workers Union chapter