IATSE Local 481 supports BLACK LIVES MATTER, and we stand in solidarity with protesters in Minneapolis, throughout the United States, and across the globe in their demands for an end to violent policing. We condemn the routine harassment, violence, and too often deadly force that police direct at Black, Brown, Indigenous, poor, unhoused, immigrant, LGBTQ+, disabled, and other marginalized communities on a daily basis, as well as the retaliation and escalation that police departments are deploying against protesters. Additionally, we recognize that violent policing against Black people is not limited to use of lethal force. Targeted profiling and criminalization of people of color and entire communities by police, combined with the systemic disinvestment in the well-being of these communities, are also forms of violence that cause lasting harm even when they do not result in loss of life or physical injury.
Human life and people's rights to live with dignity must always take precedence over the preservation of property. Tony McDade, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and all other victims of police murder should still be alive.
We support the bus drivers of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1005, Transit Workers Union Local 100, and other unions who are refusing to use their labor in service to police forces during these protests. We oppose police unions in their actions to shield officers from accountability for the murder of civilians. We oppose police union demands for increased funding to militarize forces and conduct surveillance of our most vulnerable communities. We understand that the strongest, most healthy communities are not those with the most police, but with the most resources. We do support reallocating funds into ensuring that people in areas that have been decimated by generations of institutional racism have all of the resources they need to live with dignity: nutritious food, well-maintained housing, healthcare, transportation, education, jobs, childcare, community led organizations, cultural and recreational opportunities.
IATSE International recently released a public statement regarding Black Lives Matter and recent related events. Local 481 supports this statement, including the following excerpts:
"The principle that all people are equal and all people are deserving of respect and fair treatment is a cornerstone of the labor movement. Our union has an ethical duty to do everything we can to root out racism in our communities, our homes, and our workplaces, once and for all... we denounce violence and the destruction of property perpetrated by opportunists who seek to take advantage of this painful moment for personal gains."
We acknowledge that labor rights are human rights first and foremost. We understand that we cannot truly fight for and with each other as workers unless we also unite in the struggle for our shared humanity, for the very lives of our Black brothers and sisters and siblings. Therefore, IATSE Local 481 resolves that we are morally tasked with the work to recognize and dismantle racism and white supremacy anywhere that we encounter it, whether that be in ourselves, our workplaces, or embedded into the structure of our community and/or government institutions.
Here is a link to a Google Doc for a list of BLM Resources/Donations. This list will continue to be updated. Please check back often, and contact Sister Samantha Markey if you would like to suggest a resource for addition to this list.