At the monthly membership meeting March 15, Painters and Drywall Finishers IUPAT Local 10 voted to establish an anti-racist mobilization committee, joining similar efforts in other local unions to prepare to put into practice the resolution to “Stop the KKK and All Racist Groups.” This comes in the context of increasing racist and fascist threats across the Northwest, including the arson of a mosque in Bellevue, WA in January to the appearance of fascist graffiti in Portland earlier this month.
We reprint below the statement of the newly-elected chairman of the Local 10 committee, a journeyman painter with many years in the industry.
Sisters and Brothers, we are bound by oath to oppose racism within our ranks wherever and whenever. Our Constitution states:
To unite into one labor organization all workers eligible for membership, regardless of religion, race, creed, color, national origin, age, gender, or sexual orientation
We also have an non-negotiable moral duty to extend this oath to our brothers and sisters outside our ranks. Not only is this a moral duty but also a clear opportunity to strengthen Union ranks and reverse the slow poisoning of our Institution. Racism past and present has driven a wedge between all workers which severally weakens the power of a united front (the basic fundamental factor in organized labor). It only serves to benefit those that profit from our labor and consolidate the corrupt power of corporate America. We must grab this opportunity presented to us by the current political climate of heightened racism and put all our institutional support behind the anti-racist movement. Both the labor and anti-racist struggle are inextricably intertwined. None should take priority. We as Union will reap huge benefit from fighting and finally eradicating racism. I will go as far to say that our very survival depends on it.
In light of this urgency, I here by purpose that we form our own Anti-Racist Mobilization committee. A committee that will stand shoulder to shoulder with other Anti-Fascist Committees formed by our brothers and sisters of different trade unions. We will work to encourage fellow Unions to adopt the same principles and fight, we will reach out to all those organizations that have taken up this struggle in solidarity, we will mobilize to support those who are increasingly under attack by racist elements, and we will show by example that Union brothers and sisters have the moral fortitude to not shrink from an oath bound duty.