Minnesota Workers United labor contingent joins justice for George Floyd protest
Minneapolis, MN – On Thursday, June 11, 3200 protesters gathered at the Hennepin County Government Center demanding justice for George Floyd and real change. Protests had been going on daily, sometimes several per day, for 18 days since the police murder of George Floyd.
While a battle rages over the role of police ‘unions,’ members of at least seven unions organized and turned out to the protest as part of a labor contingent organized by Minnesota Workers United. The labor contingent also sent several speakers up to the stage to speak and demand justice for George Floyd and to make it clear that police have no place in the labor movement.
David Gilbert Pederson from Minnesota Workers United addressed the crowd in a lively speech saying, “The police have no place in our movement. The national AFL-CIO must immediately expel the International Union of Police Organizations. These killer cops are not our union siblings. They are scabs, they are strike breakers, they are class collaborators, and they have kept us under subjugation for decades.”
AFSCME Local 3800 executive board member and clerical worker at the University of Minnesota Chandra Killebrew said, “I was born and raised on the Northside and Southside of Minneapolis. To give people an idea of how long this has been going on, I can remember the name of a young boy who was taken from us by police too soon. Tycel Nelson. That was back in the 90s. This is a marathon y’all and we have to keep on running.” She went on to say “I am a mother, I am a sister, I am a cousin, and an auntie. I am a grandmother to a Black man, Power to all people!”
Groups of members were seen joining the labor contingent from AFSCME Local 3800, AFSCME Local 2822, AFSCME Local 34, AFSCME Local 1842, Minnesota State College Faculty Association, Fridley Association of Educators, Bloomington Association of Teachers and more.
In addition to labor contingent members, there were dozens of other speakers there to get their voice heard and demand justice.
Among them was Sumaya Aden, the sister of Isak Aden who was murdered by police in Eagan. She stated, “People like to talk about the racist South. But we are living in the Jim Crow North!”
After a series of speeches at the Government Center the protest gave way to a large march which took over 5th Street and marched over to a nearby police station where they rallied before marching back to the Government Center.
All of this took place the day before another major protest is planned for Friday at the Police Officers Federation at 1811 University Avenue NE in Minneapolis. Many of the labor contingent members said they would also be attending the protest there to show that police are not part of the labor movement.