AFL-CIO creates racial justice task force

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has announced the creation of the National AFL-CIO Task Force on Racial Justice, charged with implementing a series of recommendations adopted by the National AFL-CIO General Board focused on taking concrete action to address America’s long history of racism and police violence against Black people.

With a myriad of goals in response to the cries for racial justice stemming from the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer; the murder of jogger Ahmaud Arbery by two white men in Glynn County, Ga.; the police killing of Breonna Taylor, a medical worker who was shot to death by police executing a no-knock search warrant in the middle of the night at her home in Louisville, Ky. and so many other tragedies and injustices inflicted on people of color in the United States, Trumka said the Task Force will:

  • Engage all corners of the Labor Movement in frank discussions about race.
  • Promote open dialogue on how to best build a more diverse Labor Movement.
  • Fight to make police reform the law of the land.
  • Encourage law enforcement unions to be agents of change.

“The Labor Movement is committed to being the tip of the spear in the fight to bring long overdue racial justice to our country,” Trumka said. “These dedicated leaders will take on one of the most complex challenges our movement has ever faced. I am confident each of them have the experience, dedication and tenacity to lead this important initiative.”

The Task Force will be chaired by United Steelworkers (USW) International Vice President Fred Redmond, who serves as vice chair of the AFL-CIO Civil and Human Rights Committee.

“I am honored that President Trumka has faith in me to lead this pivotal work the Labor Movement is embarking on,” said Redmond. “I’ve spent my entire life fighting for racial justice in the workplace and throughout our communities. These are challenging times for our country and our Labor Movement. We cannot afford to be silent. I look forward to working with all the task force members.”

Terry Melvin, president of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists and secretary-treasurer of the New York State AFL-CIO, will serve as executive director of the Task Force.

Other members include:

  • AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler
  • AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre
  • A. Philip Randolph Institute President Clayola Brown
  • UNITE HERE General Vice President Nia Winston
  • AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer Elissa McBride
  • Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) General President Kenneth Rigmaiden
  • UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada
  • American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Executive Vice President Evelyn DeJesus
  • Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU-UFCW) President Stuart Appelbaum
  • Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance Executive Director Alvina Yeh
  • Bricklayers (BAC) Local 8 Southeast President Glenn Kelly


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