AFSCME 3800 Resolution: Justice for Daunte Wright! Justice for George Floyd! Stop Repression!

AFSCME Local 3800 is circulating the following  statement that was adopted at our April 20, 2021 membership meeting.

Justice for Daunte Wright! Justice for George Floyd!

UMPD Out of the West Command Task Force!

Stop the Repression of Protesters by Operation Safety Net!

AFSCME 3800 stands in solidarity with the family, friends, and loved ones of Daunte Wright, with our Black and Brown community, with our members who live in Brooklyn Center, and with everyone demanding police accountability and justice.

We join in solidarity with others in our communities calling for the arrest and prosecution of Officer Kim Potter, for an end to police violence, for community oversight of our metro's police departments, and for an end to systemic police terror and the murder of Black and Brown people in our communities.

We stand in solidarity with the family, friends, and loved ones of George Floyd, whose murder at the hands of the Minneapolis Police sparked a global movement for justice unlike anything we have previously witnessed.

Labor unions are about lifting people up and about demanding improvements in people’s lives. Here at the University of Minnesota, we fight every day to improve people’s working conditions. We also join our community members in the fight against the systemic racism of the criminal justice system that means our black and brown members fear for themselves or their loved ones getting safely home from work.

When the labor movement is at its best we use our collective efforts and power to lift our voice together with struggles for racial justice, dating back to Martin Luther King, Jr. and AFSCME sanitation workers in Memphis and continuing today in the struggles for Justice for George Floyd, Daunte Wright, and all other victims of police brutality.

When the labor movement is at its worst it has been silent or complicit on issues of civil rights, systemic racism, and criminal justice. The working class is multiracial and our unions are multiracial. Any union members that think civil rights and racial justice are not union issues are betraying our black and brown members and the principles of solidarity.

Having watched the brutal treatment of our union siblings and our community members who have been protesting the murder of Duante Wright in Brooklyn Center this past week, we are angry and appalled. Our members have witnessed firsthand the militarization of our city streets. We expect and fear the Governor has a similar plan to meet all protests related to the verdict of the Chauvin trial with flash bangs, tear gas and brutality.

The brutal repression of protesters must end. The attacks on journalists, medics, and on civil liberties is unacceptable. The stationing of National Guard troops on every street corner of our city is extremely traumatizing to many of our BIPOC members and those who fled military conflicts as refugees.

AFSCME 3800 opposes the use of any union resources or buildings to aid in the state repression of protesters or the ongoing military occupation of our cities. Furthermore, we find it to be in direct contradiction with the values of the labor movement if any union does offer support to the systems of state repression. You cannot proclaim that Black lives matter out of one side of your mouth and out of the other side offer support to those attempting to crush the movement for Black lives. This is a moment where all in labor must make clear which side of history we are on. 

We understand that it may be union members and union siblings that are on those street corners in Guard uniforms. We know that most of the folks in the Guard and the military are working class folks. We know that it is the working class that is sent to fight the wars that the rich and corporations profit from. However, just because there are working class folks and union members in the Guard does not mean that what they are being asked to do is right. The Governor has put M4 rifles in the hands of the Guard to use against protesters and community members in the same way the National Guard was set against P9 strikers in Austin in 1986 and the Teamster Strike of 1934 that made Minneapolis a Union town. The National Guard, along with police, have a long history of being used as union busters and strike breakers, as well as to repress movements in the streets for racial justice.

The National Guard should not be called out to attack union members or anybody else who is standing up for justice. We call for an immediate and complete end to “Operation Safety Net” and the military occupation of our communities.

Last summer, after George Floyd’s murder, UMN President Joan Gabel announced that the University had severed its contract with the Minneapolis Police Department. The Administration failed to convey, however, that UMPD continues to offer support to other metro police departments through the West Command Task Force. This week, as thousands of people, including U of M staff, students, and faculty are protesting for justice for Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, we know that 12 UMPD officers are participating in the brutal crackdown. We demand that the U immediately withdraw UMPD from the West Command Task Force and be forbidden from participating in any efforts to repress protests. We also call upon the University to establish a Civilian Police Accountability Council for the UMPD.

We encourage our members to sign the pledge​ committing our unions to not offer intellectual or material support to the ongoing efforts by police and the National Guard to repress protests and occupy our cities.

We also encourage our members to safely participate in or support events called for by those seeking #JusticeForDaunteWright#JusticeForGeorgeFloyd#JusticeForAdamToledo and justice for all people whose lives have been taken unjustly by police killings.

White supremacy & systemic oppression must end!

Black Lives Matter!

An Injury to One is an Injury to ALL!