On June 17, 2020 Martin Luther King Labor Council voted to expel the Seattle Police Officers Guild from it’s ranks. Thank you to the Labor Council for listening to Black communities and taking a step in the right direction for systemic change. Read more about this decision here.
On Tuesday June 16, OneAmerica joined community organizations in sending a letter to the Martin Luther King Labor Council asking them to expel the Seattle Police Officers Guild from the Council.
Read the full letter below:
Open Letter to Martin Luther King County Labor Council and Affiliated Members
Re: Council Deliberations over SPOG and the Movement for Black Lives
The community organizations below add our support to two powerful petitions initiated by BIPOC educators for BIPOC and Allied rank and file labor members that so clearly state that “Police have historically been tasked with enforcing laws designed to justify economic inequality and enforce racial hierarchies. History shows us that when police have shown up for workers, it’s always been to silence them.”
They silence workers and our communities. There is no division between working people and community. We are one in the same. When systems and institutions fail black and brown people, we suffer in our workplaces and in our neighborhoods, congregations and community centers. As a critical pillar in the broader movement for economic and racial justice, organized labor must unequivocally commit itself to racial justice and the movement for Black lives.
For too long, the County Labor Council has allowed itself to be pitted against communities who have cried out for greater accountability, systemic reform and basic due process. For too long, labor unions that have failed to speak out against injustice have been complicit in the patterns of excessive use of force, discrimination and violence disproportionately targeting black and brown people in this region. For too long, unions have failed to protect their own members – our communities – from violence and oppression at the hands of the police.
Today, Seattle is on the cusp of something new. We hope that the MLK County Labor Council will be part of that emerging hope, not a tool for others who would undercut any meaningful change. We and black and brown communities, families and workers of Seattle are watching closely to see what side of history the Labor Council will choose. For our shared values and aspirations for justice, democracy, equity and respect, we urge you to expel the Seattle Police Officers Guild from the Council.
Michael Byun, Asian Counseling and Referral Service
Debbie Carlsen, LGBTQ Allyship
Andrea Caupain, Byrd Barr Place
Heather Day, Community Alliance for Global Justice
Esther Handy & Elena Perez, Puget Sound Sage
Rachel Lauter, Working Washington
Marcos Martinez, Casa Latina
Estela Ortega, El Centro de la Raza
Rich Stolz, OneAmerica