7 Unions & over 100 Black Clergy Call for General Strike if Trump Steals the Election

A nursing home worker strikes in Detroit (Detroit Fight for $15)

Last month, Payday broke the story of the 70,000-member Rochester AFL-CIO becoming the first local AFL-CIO to call for a general strike if Trump attempted to steal the election. 

Now, other unions and civil rights groups across the nation have joined them. 

Today a group of seven unions, both national and local, have called for a general strike in the case that Trump discredits the election results. 

The unions represent hundreds of thousands of members throughout the Midwest. They include the 35,000-member United Electrical Workers (UE), the 91,000-member SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana Missouri and Kansas, the 29,000-member SEIU Local 73, the 25,000-member Chicago Teachers Union, the 5,000-member Cook County College Teachers Union Local 1600, the 430-member AFGE Local 704, and the Warehouse Workers Organizing Committee, a non-traditional labor group. 

Together they follow in the footsteps of the 200,000-member Seattle AFL-CIO and the 60,000-member Western Massachusetts Area Labor Federation that also issued calls for a general strike earlier last month.

“We believe that the labor movement has an essential role in demanding and defending democracy,” read the unions’ press release obtained by Payday Report. “We believe in the power of the people — the multi-racial, working-class majority — and we are ready to defend our right to a free and fair election and a peaceful transition of power.” 

Along with the unions, a group of more than 100 Black clergy members, including the former President of the NAACP, Reverend Cornell William Brooks, have signed an online pledge that calls for a general strike if Trump “attempts a coup or refuses to respect the legitimate result of the election.”

“We will need many different tactics — protests, occupations of state capitals, strikes — but fundamentally it will all require unity, courage, preparation, and discipline,” wrote the faith leaders in their pledge.

As reported in the Guardian last week, Sara Nelson, president of the 50,000-member Association of Flight Attendants, also called for a general strike.

“We will have to do the one thing that takes all power and control from the government or anyone with corporate interests in keeping this person in office,” she said. “And that is withholding our labor.”

So far, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has resisted efforts to call for a General Strike. However, with growing support for a General Strike effort endorsed by unions representing over 600,000 members, it would be difficult for Trumka to resist the growing momentum coming from the rank-and-file within organized labor. 

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About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is a yinzer labor reporter who covered the drug war in Brasil and spent years covering union organizing in the South for The Guardian. In 2016, he used his $70,000 NLRB settlement from being fired in the union drive at Politico to start the crowd-funded Payday Report. The son of United Electrical Workers (UE) Director of Organization Gene Elk, he lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh. Email: Melk@PaydayReport.com

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