The labor movement and civil rights movement have striking similarities and almost ran side by side, as Americans worked to gain civil rights and labor rights.
United Steelworkers International Vice President of Human Affairs Fred Redmond discussed an annual civil and human rights conference and what the future looks like for civil rights and the Labor Movement.
Civil Rights conference
Each year, the labor community comes together for a civil rights conference, the weekend before Martin Luther King Jr. day. This year’s event was held virtually and had roughly 1,100 registrants.
Redmond said the group comes together to honor the accomplishments of the entire civil rights movement. He said it is impossible not to also bring up the labor movement, which Dr. King was very much a part of.
He said Dr. King would be appalled at the rhetoric of today and the slow rate of unionization.
However, as he reflected on Dr. King, he said it would be impossible for him not to be proud of the work done by southern Black women in recent years. Their political power is spreading and they accomplished a great feat in electing Joe Biden and the two Democratic Senators in Georgia.
Looking ahead at the labor movement
Going forward Redmond believes the labor movement will be able to progress with Joe Biden in the White House.
He is excited about Laborer and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh being nominated for Secretary of Labor. Additionally, the National Labor Relations Board will be rebuilt with worker-friendly members, instead of the corporate sympathizers that sit on it today.
Finally, he is excited for the build back better agenda. Investing in infrastructure and putting people back to work will be a vital part of rebuilding the devastated economy.