Alameda Labor Council calls for protests

The Alameda Labor Council, representing unions throughout Alameda County, Calif., has passed a resolution encouraging all unions to organize actions on the day Donald Trump takes office as U.S. president. The resolution calls for protests to begin on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 16, and continue until there’s a massive day of action on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20.

Citing Trump’s attacks on “the most marginalized” and stressing that it is “the obligation of organized labor to defend our members from attack,” the ALC rallying cry goes out to all members of all affiliated unions in the U.S.

Emily Chen, an Oakland-based union electrician, said of the call, “The presidency of Donald Trump poses a threat to both labor and marginalized communities, including immigrants, people of color, women, disabled and LGBTQ communities. So it is especially offensive that he will be sworn into office in the same week that we celebrate the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Civil Rights Movement. It is wrong to celebrate these advancements on Monday and then allow them to be threatened on Friday.” (ALC press release)

The ALC resolution emphasized that the “power of labor is not reliant on the occupant of any political office, up to and including the President of the United States.” The proposed inauguration actions are intended to demonstrate that, regardless of election outcomes and of Trump’s anti-labor cabinet appointments, labor’s real power is in its membership — the power of workers. The ALC characterizes the actions as a “reassertion of the power of organized labor.”

Commenting on the call, labor journalist Terri Kay said, “Historically, unions did not rely on elected officials, but instead on organizing and mobilizing workers to action. In recent decades [unions] became more invested in elections. This year union households did not turn out for the Democratic candidate after the Democrats have repeatedly failed to deliver. Unions must reposition themselves … as forces of power that are independent of the electoral process.” (ALC press release)