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Washington, D.C.- Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) defended Big Labor last week at the Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Conference when he excused the union movement’s deep-rooted history of racism.

Ellison remarked:

A couple points about the unions: in 1957 America was racist and Jim Crow and women did not have no rights, gays were in the closet, but, one person could feed a family of four, one third of all workers work in a union, another third were paid as if they were.

Many of us here at the Congressional Black Caucus, we celebrate the March on Washington. Well, the UAW (United Auto Workers) wrote the check. When Martin Luther King lost his life it was AFSCME that was supporting the strike in Memphis, TN.

Now, we often hear people say the union movement has had a history of racism; it’s also had a history of fighting for injustice, too. We got, we got to take both, right? Not just the one, we got to take both.

While it may be true that some labor unions supported the March on Washington, to say the UAW cut the check is a bit of an overstatement. Additionally, America’s largest union, the AFL-CIO refused to endorse it.

From the website, “Civil Rights Movement Veterans,” at Tougaloo College:

After a bitter debate, the AFL-CIO Executive Council refuses to endorse the march. Despite the lack of AFL-CIO endorsement, some individual unions such as the Sleeping Car Porters, UAW, ILGWU, TWU, District-65, and others 5 support the march, and ultimately tens of thousands of marchers are brought to Washington on busses chartered and paid for by unions. Walter Reuther of the UAW is added to the march committee as a labor representative.

As far as taking the good with the bad, as Ellison suggests we do regarding Big Labor’s racist history, he and the rest of the ruling elite only like to do so when it advances their liberal agenda (such as instituting a union in the fast food industry, which was the topic of the panel).

However, Ellison and the rest of the elite class never seem to heed their own advice when it comes to America itself, highlighted in this instance by his skipping over a couple hundred years of history to isolate a negative point.

In 1957 America was racist and Jim Crow and women did not have no rights, gays were in the closet.

Nevermind that fewer than 100 years earlier, 360,222 soldiers from the North died in the Civil War, America’s deadliest war, ending slavery.

“You got to take both,” the good and the bad, right?

3 Responses

  1. Dee

    “Now, we often hear people say the union movement has had a history of racism; it’s also had a history of fighting for injustice, too”

    I would have hoped the unions would fight against injustice. But then… oh never mind.

    Reply
    • missakaffir

      Well now that it’s done doing it’s simian tap dance, take a break. Have a footee with a chittlin chaser.

      Reply
  2. Kid

    It was labor that helped built the Black middle class. both my parents were in the Union and my mother was one of the founders of the Black nurses union in Cleveland.

    Reply

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