Labor power is rising all across the United States and workers in Maryland are capitalizing on the energy surrounding the current labor movement. AFT-Maryland already stands as a leader in fighting for local and state employees in Maryland and we have extended our support to labor siblings in different industries. Members and staff of the state federation have taken to the streets recently to support worker efforts as labor attempts to make inroads against corporate titans such as Starbucks and Amazon.
AFT-Maryland is proud to show up for our labor siblings, and doing so is part of our commitment to the state federation’s mission. In addition to our work directly on behalf of members, AFT-Maryland has been a vital contributor to the community, and supporting workers is fundamentally a community action. AFT-Maryland President Kenya Campbell shared that sentiment saying “our community involvement extends beyond the work our members do for a living. AFT-Maryland is an active partner in a number of community activities and labor solidarity is community activism in its highest form. Our capacity to show up in solidarity for other working families demonstrates our commitment to one another as workers, to the labor movement as a whole, and to the belief in justice that a fair and collectively bargained contract can provide.”
November was an active month for worker action. First, Teamsters picketed outside of Amazon’s BWI5 facility in Baltimore. There, Teamsters from across the country joined with labor activists in Baltimore including AFT-Maryland members. Baltimore Teachers Union (BTU) Local 340 member Cristina Duncan Evans joined the solidarity effort and told The Real News Network that support from educators was vital because “teachers are workers, teachers are members of the union. We know what it’s like to have a boss that takes advantage of you, a boss that retaliates, and so we really wanted to stand with the Amazon workers who are striking.”
Later in the month, Starbucks workers held a one-day walk-out on “Red Cup Day,” one of the coffee chain’s busiest days. Labor activists from across the country supported Workers United as the union advocates for unionization rights for all Starbucks employees. Locally, AFT-Maryland stood shoulder to shoulder on the front lines in support of those workers advocating for a union. Metro Baltimore AFL-CIO Council President Courtney Jenkins said of the protests: “Over the last few years we have witnessed a resurgence in the movement of organized labor, with workers taking back their power and demanding democracy in the workplace. Standing in solidarity with working families and union members means that we are one step closer to true economic justice.”
Story & photos by AFT-Maryland staff