Sid Coville, Local 129


Every time our union goes to the negotiating table, we fight against a system that is hell-bent on extracting the most out of every worker. Our union stands up to that system and fights for higher wages, better benefits, and safer working conditions. The union defends the idea that we workers deserve a fair level of compensation for our labor — that our blood, sweat, tears, and time are valuable and deserve the proper dignity and respect for what we sacrifice every day to our employers.

Just as the union gives a collective voice to workers, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives aim to give a collective voice for the fair and equitable treatment of every person. The goals of DEI initiatives are not in division and “otherism,” but in coming together to take on systems that are holding back women, minorities, and those of the LGBTQ+ community. And just as we understand the idea that an injury to one union member is an injury to all, DEI says that an injustice to one is an injustice to everyone.

It’s in this vein that I think DEI and union values go hand in hand. That’s why I encourage all my union brothers and sisters to support and be involved with DEI initiatives in their workplaces and communities, and I encourage our union to lead the way in developing a national DEI council. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., saw the parallels between labor and civil rights, and in 1965 he said, “The two most dynamic movements that reshaped the nation during the past three decades are the labor and civil rights movements. Our combined strength is potentially enormous.”

Our fights in labor are not over, and neither is the fight for civil rights. Together, the labor movement and DEI could have a collective voice stronger than we could imagine and make substantial changes and progress against the systems that are out to keep us down.