Everyone had something to say about the conviction of Derek Chauvin. Labor unions were not different.
While many celebrated after Chauvin was found guilty on murder in the 2nd degree, murder in the 3rd degree and manslaughter in the 3rd degree, labor leaders wanted to remind the public that a guilty verdict is not justice.
1199 SEIU President George Gresham said that Chauvin’s conviction was a victory for humanity.
“George Floyd was a father, and a son, and a brother,” Gresham stated. “His life mattered, and it was cut short by someone sworn to protect and serve. Today’s verdict is confirmation that though inequality still exists in our nation, the work being done for racial justice is not coming back to us void. There is still work to be done, and we are committed to continuing the fight, because none of is us free until all of us are free.”
Chauvin killed George Floyd on May 25, 2020 after police responded to a call of an alleged forgery attempt and allegations of being under the influence. Events led to Floyd being handcuffed and brought to the ground while Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost 8 minutes. Floyd would eventually die from injuries sustained during those 8 minutes.
AFSCME President Lee Saunders said that while this is a relief, the work doesn’t end.
“After so many African American lives have been taken with impunity, this guilty verdict is an enormous relief and sends a powerful message,” said Saunders. “After a year of pain, trauma and tension in our communities, today’s verdict is a reaffirmation that a badge is not a license to commit violent crime.”
“But accountability for a single act of brutality does not solve the underlying crisis…”
Accountability is what the public called for in 2020 during the anti-police brutality protests. Calls for the police to quell extrajudicial violence against Black and Brown people were met with violence and incidents of police brutality during the protests.
National Education Association President Becky Pringle said people who aren’t criminals being scared of the police won’t help the relationship between law enforcement and the community…any community.
“Most of us—regardless of our race, gender identity or ZIP code—want to live without fearing for our lives or those of our loved ones. George Floyd died at the hands of those who are entrusted to protect us and our communities. While the jury reached the right decision and did in fact convict former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin of George Floyd’s murder, we are again joining together to make sure all of us feel safe in our schools, neighborhoods and communities.”
Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), called for unity along with accountability and justice in all realms of American life.
“It is time for us to come together as a nation to set a new course that acknowledges the problematic race relations here,” stated Appelbaum. “We must tackle the systemic issues that continue to oppress Black people and the economic, housing, healthcare, and societal discrimination that makes it more difficult for Black people to be successful.
“We stand with the Black Lives Matter movement in demanding an end to police violence with the same commitment that we fight to improve workers’ rights and a just economy for all,” stated Appelbaum.