Statement from Ron Ruggiero, President of SEIU Local 105:
“No matter the color of our skin or where we come from, we all deserve to live without fear, to be safe, and have our humanity respected. Yet again we find ourselves grief-stricken and enraged by something we have seen far too many times: a black man murdered by police officers who are supposed to be there to protect people. The murder of George Floyd violated those values we share and denied him his life, his humanity, and basic human rights.
Our union, SEIU Local 105, unites over 8,000 workers of all colors, from different places, and varied backgrounds. We come together across our differences and are united in fighting for racial and economic justice. We are also united in understanding that we cannot achieve one without the other. We understand that no one lives life only at work—that the quality of our lives at home and in our communities matters too. SEIU 105 will continue to work to dismantle racism in our society, end police brutality, and fight for dignity at work and in our communities.
We will also reject the tactics of some politicians who seek to divide us with scapegoating politics. We understand that the tactics of divide and conquer have been used for generations by those corrupt politicians and large corporations to hold onto their wealth and power. We will not fall for it. We know—from the proud history of working people—that it is when we come together across our differences that we win. This is how we won the very right to have a union, won important civil rights for many, and expanded the right to vote.
Therefore, we will not be silent. We will continue to use our collective voices to speak out against the consistent violence inflicted upon black people and other communities of color. We will not sit idly by when immigrants are scapegoated by self-serving politicians. We will stand up when workers’ rights are violated when they seek to organize a union or protect themselves and the public during this pandemic. We will continue to organize and build unity for racial and economic justice and call out any politician or other special interest that seeks to divide us with scapegoating rhetoric or actions.
We hold our members, and all people, who are experiencing grief and outrage in our arms in solidarity. We stand in unity with our SEIU union family in Minnesota who are holding their elected leaders and police forces accountable. We will continue to partner with community organizations and allies to press for accountability and systemic changes across the criminal justice system, as well as living wage work, affordable healthcare, the right to join together in a union, and the dignity and respect that we all deserve, no matter where we are from or the color of our skin. This is our path to win racial and economic justice and it is a path we walk on powerfully and shall not diverge from.”