The Black Lives Matter uprising has prompted strong statements about racism and police accountability from top union officials, but the participation of the labor movement has been limited. Several internationals have, to their credit, encouraged their members.
More of the initiative to take action has come from below, with local unions and rank and filers organizing or participating in local demonstrations, pushing local governments and schools to shift resources from policing to community needs, and confronting racism in their own workplaces and industries.
The organized labor movement has begun swinging into action to support protests against the racist police murder of Minneapolis resident George Floyd.
Floyd was filmed being suffocated to death under the knee of police officer Derek Chauvin on Monday in a video that reverberated around the country and has sent the Twin Cities into turmoil.
Protesters lit shops and even a police precinct on fire on Thursday as public rage boiled over in Minneapolis’s third precinct over the ever-continuing string of police murders of Black people in the United States.
Workers in South and Southeast Asia are facing challenges from the coronavirus and their governments’ responses to the crisis like job loss, being robbed of wages, and lack of control over when and how they work in a time of social distancing. Here's a round-up.
Labor Notes’ Saurav Sarkar spoke with New York City teacher Annie Tan on March 23 about the rise in anti-Asian racism with the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Labor Notes: Can you tell me a little bit about your family background and how it connects to organizing against anti-Asian racism?
Annie Tan: I was born and raised in Chinatown and I have lived in New York City almost all my life. My family members were mostly new immigrants to America.
At times it can seem like international solidarity is just a rallying cry, devoid of the oomph that would make it a force to build power among workers across borders. But this past August, we had the chance to witness international solidarity in action.
Chanting in English, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, and Tagalog, a multinational crowd of union activists rallied in the swampy heat of Taiwan’s capital in front of the headquarters of Foxconn, the notorious manufacturer of iPhones.