Race and Labor

The WSLC continues its ground-breaking work on racial justice, equity, and the labor movement’s responsibility to tackle racism. That work began in 2015, but was spurred forward when union delegates from across Washington state approved the Resolution on Race and the Labor Movement at the WSLC’s 2017 Convention.

That resolution lays plain our history — that “race and the course of organized labor are inextricably bound and have been since workers made their first appearance on the shores of North America.” It enumerates our current challenges — that “organized labor needs to develop a robust counter narrative to that offered by right-wing populism and has yet to do so.” And it lays out the work we must take on — that “unions need to integrate racial justice into every area of their organization… to wholeheartedly combat the divide and conquer strategy of our enemies.”

The WSLC has worked with community partners, nationally acclaimed labor educator and writer Bill Fletcher, Jr., and the Washington State Labor Education and Research Center to develop a Race and Labor workshop that has been presented to hundreds of union leaders and rank-and-file members throughout the state.

“Like much else in America, workers of color serve as the canaries in the coal mine when it comes to changes in the economy,” writes Fletcher in Race to Labor: Can Organized Labor Be an Agent of Social and Economic Justice? (That important publication, produced by the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, can be downloaded here, or you can order a printed copy by calling 206-281-8901.)

If you and your union are interested in conducting a Race and Labor workshop to discuss these critical issues, please contact the WSLC at 206-281-8901.


Race and Labor resolutions approved by the WSLC:

Resolution on Race and the Labor Movement 3.0  (2019)

Resolution on Race and the Labor Movement 2.0  (2017)

Resolution on Race and the Labor Movement  (2015)


ALSO at The Stand:

Black history informs the future of organized labor (by WSLC Secretary Treasurer April Sims) — This is a pivotal moment for organized labor. Our economy is changing once more. Without the leadership of unions, workers will once again pay the price. Without leadership from workers of color, we cannot stand united against the billionaires and bosses who threaten our livelihoods and our future.

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