The three General Officers of the APWU, President Mark Dimondstein, Executive-Vice President Debby Szeredy, and Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Powell issued the following statement:
Fair minded people from all walks of life and political viewpoints are deeply disturbed and rightfully outraged by the killing of unarmed and handcuffed African-American George Floyd at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers.
George Floyd was pinned face down on the ground with a knee on his neck for over eight minutes. Treated less than human, it made no difference that Mr. Floyd repeatedly pleaded for his life, “Please, I can’t breathe.”
Reflecting a long history of oppression worsened with the recent rise of white supremacy emboldened from the highest office of the land, this incident followed recent killings of innocent African American people, while jogging (Ahmaud Arbery) or in their own home (Breonna Taylor). Mostly peaceful but understandably angry protests have erupted throughout the country.
Unions stand for good, living-wage jobs and solidarity of all working people, respect for each other and unyielding commitment to justice, fairness and equality in the workplace and in our neighborhoods in which we live. Postal workers live and work in every community across the nation, including the Minneapolis area. The people of the country are standing with us in defense of the public Postal Service and our good union jobs, and we must also stand with our communities’ demands for justice. Martin Luther King Jr. put it so well: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
The APWU national convention is the highest authority of our union. At the 2016 convention, 2000 delegates from around the country, and all races, unanimously supported a “Black Lives Matter” resolution. It stated, “… the APWU will encourage its members to participate in any rallies, petition drives or other actions pursued by the campaign against racial discrimination and for transparency in policing.”
In line with this convention action and with human decency and compassion, with unity and solidarity of all people and the continuing struggle for freedom and civil rights, we encourage our members and locals to speak out, protest and demand justice for George Floyd’s family and community as part of the broader struggle of “liberty and justice for all.”
Let’s fight for a new day. Whether a person is jogging, doing their jobs, birdwatching, driving, being arrested, attending union meetings, or going to and from work, all human beings, regardless of our race and the color of our skin, have the right to be treated with respect and dignity and to life itself.