In the wake of the police murder of George Floyd, educators of color in the Highline Education Association near Seattle, Washington launched a petition to kick the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) out of the Martin Luther King County Labor Council. These educators acted as part of HiCORE, their local caucus linked with CORE (Caucus of Rank-and-file Educators) in Chicago. On Wednesday, June 17, their efforts and the efforts of other rank-and-file members within their unions succeeded in expelling SPOG from the Labor Council.
This is one win in the battle to get unions to take on the fight for Black liberation. Hopefully, this can grow into part of the increasing revitalization of an organized left challenge within the labor movement. As more and more working people are actively struggling to fight for their rights and their lives, an organized left-wing of the labor movement, made up of rank-and-file socialists and activists from across many unions can help leverage the immense power that our labor unions have, but rarely use.
Our Seattle DSA dispatch blog has begun a series of interviews with rank-and-file union activists involved in this groundbreaking win. We will continue to post interviews about the fight for Black liberation within our unions, and the necessary work to support Black lives that socialists in unions are engaged in. If you’d like to be interviewed or involved in this project, contact [email protected].
First up is an interview with Whitney Kahn, a member of the Seattle Education Association and the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), who helped organize with other union activists to kick out the racist police union. We hope this video can help other union activists across the country interested in spreading this work.
If you have any questions, you can reach Whitney on Twitter @benjaminovitz or on email at [email protected]