Letter from the President
Fellow clerical coworkers and union members:
The two months since the elections have been a challenging time for many of us. President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign was built largely on intimidation and attacks against workers and our unions, women, immigrants, Muslims, and the environment. His cabinet picks include billionaires, racists, and misogynists who have an agenda against the interests of 99% of the population.
From his pick for Labor secretary to his mean-spirited lashing out at the union leader at Carrier who pointed out Trump lied about saving jobs there, Trump has already signaled very clearly that it's open season on workers and our unions. By picking Andy Pudzer, a fast food CEO and open opponent of unions, to head the Department of Labor, Trump has declared war on the movement fighting for a $15 minimum wage. Puzder vocally opposes raising the federal minimum wage, currently at $7.25 per hour, which puts him in line with Trump's own position that "wages are too high" for workers in the U.S. Puzder is also a vocal opponent to paid parental leave, an issue that has been a top priority for our members in contract negotiations. Read a NY Times analysis here.
We expect to see full scale efforts to pass anti-worker legislation nationwide for both private and public sector workers in the next 2 years and anticipate efforts to destroy collective bargaining and other union rights that working people have fought long and hard for. At the same time our unions are under fire, President Trump has made it clear that he is prepared to carry out massive attacks on our immigrant and Muslim co-workers and communities.
We have seen bigots use the election results as a license to attack people of color, LGBTQ folks, Muslims, immigrants, women, and others they consider to be lesser than them. This includes incidents that have taken place on our campuses.
It's important that we distinguish between those voters who were desperately looking for change from the devastating impacts of an economy that doesn't work for so many, and those who want to scapegoat and attack members of our communities. As a union, we have always worked to create solidarity across differences, to expand our rights, and to unite all people in our efforts to improve working and living standards. I am proud of the work that we have done as a union to reject bigotry, to work for social and economic justice, and to bridge the many issues that can divide us.
AFSCME 3800 has created posters expressing our solidarity with each other and our whole University community against bigoted attacks. Please download, print, and post in your work area. If you would like us to drop a higher-quality poster off for you, rather than printing your own, please contact our local office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, AFSCME 3800, at our December membership meeting, voted to endorse the Resist from Day One March and Rally on . We join more than seventy labor, social justice, immigrant, and community organizations in defending our communities against President Trump's racist, anti-immigrant, anti-worker, anti-Muslim, anti-woman, anti-environment agenda. Our union, along with AFSCME Council 5, Minneapolis and St. Paul Regional Labor Federations, SEIU 26, CTUL, Minneapolis Federation of Teachers Solidarity Committee, and AFSCME Hennepin County Policy Committee will march and rally together as a labor contingent.
On Friday, January 20, 2017 join your union family and coworkers to Resist from Day One Rally and March. Wear your AFSCME 3800 t-shirt to show your solidarity with your coworkers and communities. AFSCME 3800 members will be meeting at at the southeast corner of the Kmart parking lot at Lake Street and Nicollet Ave. Look for our banner. Take union leave or vacation and meet up with us for the march, or join us after work at for the rally at Minneapolis City Hall Rotunda.
The labor movement is built on the principles of solidarity and that an injury to one is an injury to all. As we start a new semester on campus and look ahead to a new president, congress, and state legislature, I invite all of you to join our union in showing our commitment to our families, our coworkers and our communities and to ensuring that all working people are treated with dignity and respect, and can earn enough to raise a family, own a home, send their kids to college, and retire with security.
President, AFSCME 3800