“We Need To Have A Real Good Conversation Amongst Society Of What Should The Role Of Police Be Within Society” - ‘The Importance Of Black Labor’ Discussed During Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation Virtual Event
(HUDSON VALLEY, NEW YORK) - Black Labor Leaders spoke on the importance of Black Labor, its connection with Black Lives Matter and the police, during a Hudson Valley AFL-CIO Area Labor Federation virtual event that was held late last week.
After discussing a brief history of the connection between social justice and Labor Unions, the topic of police unionization arose.
Policing, specifically excessive force, was the initial catalyst for the creation of Black Lives Matter - but now, that phrase has begun to be used as a blanket ideology for all manner of issues regarding racial injustice, those who took part in the discussion said.
Terrance Melvin, who serves as Secretary-Treasurer of New York State AFL-CIO and as President of the National Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU), said before police reform and Union discipline, a conversation on what the police’s function within society is needs to be prioritized.
“I think as a society, we really need to look at what role we want them to have and this is some stuff that the Black Lives Matter Movement has brought up over and over and over again,” Melvin said. “We need to have a real good conversation amongst society of what should the role of police be within society.”
Melvin said he believes law enforcement, as a whole, focuses more on protection of property than protection of people, which is not in line with the Labor Movement ethos.
Furthermore, Members of the Labor Federation are troubled by the police, as a Union Body, having the authority to arrest other striking Union Laborers as happened recently to Teamster-represented Produce Workers at Hunt’s Point in Brooklyn.
William Fletcher Jr., a Senior Scholar with the Institute of Policy Studies, said the police aren’t part of the Labor Movement and are a symptom of systemic racism brought on by capitalism.
He said he believes Police Unions should not be allowed to identify under the umbrella of Labor Federations: “Let me be very clear about that. I’m insisting that they have the right to Unionize. I do not want to participate in the discussions that some people have started to float of denying the police the right to Unionize. I think they absolutely have the right to Unionize, but they shouldn’t be in our Federations.”
Melvin openly disagreed with this point, but maintained police following poor training has led to many tragedies and improving training is an area Organized Labor can be proactive about.
To Directly Access This Labor News Story, Go To: https://midhudsonnews.com/2021/02/06/importance-of-black-labor-discussed/