A More Just America

June 1,2020

Statement by Wisconsin AFL-CIO President Stephanie Bloomingdale on the events of the weekend:

The heart-wrenching video of George Floyd’s last moments as Minneapolis police officers ignored his dying pleas throws into stark relief the gap between the noble principles enshrined in our constitution and the reality Americans of color face every day. 

We in the labor movement are particularly outraged by this unconscionable abuse of power. As union workers, we fight each day to make the proposition that all men and women are created equal into an American reality. In addition to the responsible police officers’ appalling criminal inhumanity, their contempt for the life of a fellow citizen is profoundly un-American.

This weekend we saw thousands of our neighbors take to the streets to voice righteous outrage over not only the killing of George Floyd, but of the entrenched racism that infects our society. While felt most directly and painfully by people of color, this and other forms of injustice must be the concern of every American. Racial inequality and economic inequality are inextricably welded together and must be addressed in tandem. None of us can be fully free until each of us enjoys an equal opportunity to prosper through our labor. This is the very soul of our union movement.

Sadly, a small few have dishonored our efforts to fight for justice by resorting to violence. As Martin Luther King observed, “The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.” Violence and vandalism do nothing to further the pursuit of justice. Instead, they delegitimize our cause and empower those who seek to preserve an unjust status quo. 

The struggle to make our nation live up to the values set out by our founders is a never-ending process. In these trying times as always, our union movement proudly stands with every working man and woman as together we build a more just America.