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The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota in late May has sparked protests and uprisings across the country. Working people are ready to put an end to police brutality. Further, they are crying out for solutions to ever increasing problems of inequality and structural racism - and the former is exacerbated by the later for our sisters and brothers in marginalized communities.
Over the last week, the Alabama AFL-CIO reeled in heartbreak and outrage as we watched a police officer inhumanely murder George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in broad daylight on the streets of Minneapolis. Police brutality has always been an issue for unarmed people of color in America, but thanks to the technological advancement of videos and smartphones, we are now confronted with the inescapable realities of racial injustice each and every day.

The path to the presidency runs through the labor movement.

As Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO, wrote in a public letter to the U.S.

“For all workers, the toll of COVID-19 infections and deaths is mounting and will increase even more rapidly as workers return to work without necessary safety and health protections,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka wrote in the letter, which listed dozens of members who have died from the virus. He faulted the agency for not doing more inspections, not issuing citations and releasing only voluntary coronavirus safety guidelines. “Without government oversight and enforcement, too many employers are disregarding safety and health standards,” he wrote.

The national union that represents workers in meatpacking and food processing jobs, the United Food and Commercial Workers, says the administration should enact enforceable standards instead of guidance that requires protections like protective equipment, physical distancing, daily testing for workers and paid sick leave so workers can stop the spread of illness. And Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, echoed their concerns tweeting, "Using executive power to force people back on the job without proper protections is wrong and dangerous."

As the day, weeks, and possibly months of the COVID-19 health crisis pass; the needs of the community will evolve. There is help available to Southwest Alabama residents. United Way of Southwest Alabama (UWSWA) continues to update the community about the various services available throughout this difficult time. UWSWA also anticipates individuals, families, and businesses will continue to need help after the social distancing policies are lifted.

Assistance available:

After much thought and with sadness, SWALC has had to make some changes in the schedule of events for this year.  

The AFL-CIO warned Tuesday that workplaces were still far too dangerous to consider reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic, even as some governors are starting to lift restrictions in order to get businesses up and running again. Richard Trumka, the federation’s president, said there was still insufficient personal protective equipment and not enough testing to make worksites safe yet. He called for stronger legal protections for those who will have to refuse dangerous work as their employers begin to call them back.

This has been a month like no other in modern American history. We are in a war against an invisible virus that has required most people to stay home to fight it. With each day of the coronavirus pandemic, Americans have grown increasingly grateful for things we used to take for granted, like grocery workers, without whom we could not meet our most basic needs. Parents have a new appreciation for how complex and demanding teaching is, and for how teachers are helping their children continue learning, stay engaged and stay safe inside during this uneasy time.

"Once again the CDC is putting profits over people with its latest recommendations that downgrade worker protections at a time when they are needed most," said Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO.