When we fight, we win!

ST Message: Fighting racism and standing up for social justice

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Sisters and Brothers - 

Last Friday, members of our Union joined 60,000 others in a peaceful, silent march to protest the murder of George Floyd and to engage in the urgent and longstanding efforts against racism. It was powerful to see many Unions there, including UFCW, teachers, operating engineers, and longshoreman, along with community organizations and retired police.

Many of our members expressed deep gratitude for our participation in the march. They are incredibly proud to see their Local Union advancing the cause of racial justice. Others are upset or even infuriated by our involvement in the event.

In a large Union with a diverse membership and many points of view, a moment like this can be a painful reminder of all that divides us. But a tragedy like the death of George Floyd can also be an opportunity for healing, deeper understanding, and for change.

Local 117 is in a unique position to engage, support, and lead at this moment. Our members work in almost every industry and live in every community in Washington. Our diversity reflects every walk of life, which gives us a powerful voice to help build a more just and inclusive society. We believe that what unites us is stronger than what divides us. Most of us will agree that the murder of George Floyd was a horrific crime. Most of us will also agree that disbanding the police is not the answer.

Our Union will always fight for social justice.

Our organization will not dismiss the realities of systemic racism, institutional racism, implicit bias, and other sources of racism that exist in our public safety institutions, our politics, housing, healthcare, employment, and even our unions. We stand firm in our fight against racism and our partnership for an anti-racist society.

We do not support any call to abolish the police. To broadly stroke all police officers as racist does them a gross disservice, further divides us as a society, and becomes an impediment to meaningful change.

Our Union will always fight for social justice.

We will always take a stand – in the workplace and in the community – to ensure that all people are treated as equals regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. I believe we can work together to take a firm stance on equal rights for all, while at the same time supporting and honoring our members that provide public safety and respond to the needs of the communities they serve. As a Union, we must unite to do both.

In unity,

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John Scearcy
Secretary-Treasurer