The deadly storming of the U.S. Capitol by a mob looking to overturn the results of a free and fair election, encouraged and inspired by President Donald Trump, was one of the greatest attacks on our democracy in American history. And the fact that trespassers were allowed to roam the halls of Congress without consequence is one of the latest examples of why we must tear down the systems and abiders of white supremacy.
Trump is an affront to every union member, and a clear and present danger to our nation and our republic. He should resign or be removed from office at once, whether through impeachment or the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
This is not a statement America’s labor movement makes lightly. It is not driven by politics or ideology, but rather by the fundamental belief that the preservation of our democracy is essential—though never guaranteed. Hate and insurrection have no place in America.
Was An Attack on Democracy by White Supremacists and Fascists
A message from CWA President Chris Shelton
Yesterday, the world watched as armed insurrectionists, with the encouragement of the President of the United States, launched an attack on the Capitol in an attempt to undermine our democracy and prevent Congress from certifying the results of the Presidential election.
Two images from their failed attempt to violently invalidate the votes of millions of Americans make their motives absolutely clear : the sight of the confederate flag being paraded through the halls of the Senate and a message scrawled on a door, “Murder the media.”
White supremacy is a poison that has been with us since the beginning of our country, and the confederate flag is its symbol, meant to subjugate and terrorize Black, brown, Asian and Pacific Islander, and Indigenous people. That was the goal of this mob and the President who asked them to assemble on his behalf.
Freedom of the press is the first target of fascists everywhere, as they seek to silence opposition and suppress any information that contradicts the alternate reality that their narcissistic leader creates to support his racist fantasy world. This freedom is enshrined in our Constitution because a healthy democracy is not possible without a free press.
There is no doubt that each day that Donald Trump continues to hold the powers of the Presidency presents a grave threat to the safety of millions of American and to the stability of our country. He organized an insurrection while ignoring a pandemic. Legislators and members of the Cabinet have taken an oath to defend our Constitution and they must act to remove him from office immediately before he does greater harm to our country and democracy.
But we must not fool ourselves. The end of Trump’s presidency does not mean an end to white supremacy in our government. After forcing Congress to flee and vandalizing the Capitol for hours, the insurrectionists were free to walk out the door and head home. After they returned to the Capitol, half of the Republican members of the House of Representatives, who are guilty of aiding and abetting this insurrection, voted to overturn the will of the American people.
Far too many politicians enabled Donald Trump to build and sustain power. Corporate CEOs and board members, driven only by the size of their fortunes, continue to extract wealth from our labor and cynically exploit racism for their own gain.
Along with the free press, free, democratic labor unions like ours are targets of fascists who fear the power of workers united in common cause. We must remain committed to the fight to strengthen our democracy and resist white supremacy and fascism. We must continue the process we began last spring to deepen our efforts to dismantle racism, including racism within our union. Together we will build power for all working people.
AFA Statement on Protecting Aviation Security Following Insurrection at Capitol
Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) International President Sara Nelson, representing nearly 50,000 Flight Attendants at 17 airlines, released the following statement :
“Air travel is safe because everyone follows a strict set of rules, based on the spirit that ‘we’re all in this together.’ The mob mentality behavior that took place on several flights to the D.C. area yesterday was unacceptable and threatened the safety and security of every single person onboard. It will not happen again. There’s a reason that there are strict penalties and fines for failing to comply with crewmember instructions. Enforcement keeps everyone safe.
“Our first priority in aviation safety and security is to keep any problems on the ground. Some of the people who traveled in our planes yesterday participated in the insurrection at the Capitol today. Their violent and seditious actions at the Capitol today create further concern about their departure from the DC area. Acts against our democracy, our government, and the freedom we claim as Americans must disqualify these individuals from the freedom of flight.
“We in aviation have a serious role to play in national security. Airlines, in coordination with TSA, DHS, FAA, DOT and law enforcement must take all steps to ensure the safety and security of passengers and crew by keeping all problems on the ground.”
President Lee Saunders, AFSCME
Yesterday was one of the darkest days in American history. What we saw at the U.S. Capitol was insurrection, sedition and terror enabled by the president of the United States. The 1.4 million members of AFSCME, who dedicate their lives to strengthening their communities instead of trying to tear violently at the national fabric, roundly condemn these acts of vandalism against our democracy. In the end, our institutions were resilient, with Congress finishing its business at hand last night. In 13 days, at that same U.S. Capitol, we will celebrate democracy with the swearing-in of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, who will do everything in their power to restore dignity to the presidency and to unify the nation.
International President John Costa, Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU)
Today is a dark and devastating day in our country’s history. What was supposed to be a routine procedure to follow the Constitution and certify the democratically decided election turned into a violent siege on the U.S. Capitol and the foundations of our democracy. While our Nation was founded on freedom of speech and the right to have a voice, this was not an exercise of those rights. We condemn the actions of those turning to violence and mob rule. We will not stand for this unprecedented and heinous assault on our democratic principles.
International President Lonnie R. Stephenson, Electrical Workers (IBEW)
Today’s attack on the U.S. Capitol by violent extremists represents a direct assault on our democratic system. Blame for this horrific event lies directly on the shoulders of President Trump and his enablers in Congress, who have deliberately spread disinformation about the validity of the 2020 election, threatened our constitutional system by disregarding the will of America’s voters and promoted an atmosphere of violence that led to what happened today. For too long, Trump’s extremist rhetoric, venomous attacks and deranged conspiracy theories have undermined America’s faith in democracy, divided Americans against each other and poisoned political debate in this nation. It’s clear that one more day of Trump in office represents a direct threat to the health of our republic and we demand his immediate resignation. If Trump does not resign, we call on Vice President Mike Pence and members of the cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him. We also condemn the efforts of some Republican lawmakers to overturn the will of the American people by refusing to certify the results of the Electoral College. This represents an unprecedented effort to invalidate a democratic election. Any member of Congress who attempts to thwart the will of the American people as expressed in a democratically held presidential election has no place in the people’s house.
International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE)
IFPTE categorically condemns the violent act of insurrection by President Trump and thousands of his supporters. The blame falls clearly with President Trump himself, and his enablers in Congress, who have instigated and encouraged today’s seditious actions. The people who stormed and took control of our historic Capitol destroyed property, took over offices, and took over chambers of Congress itself, while staff and members were escorted to secure areas to protect their lives. IFPTE further understands that one person was shot and has tragically succumbed to her injuries. Make no mistake about it, this is a transparent effort to overturn a presidential election. It is a culmination of many attempts to undermine our Democracy and prevent our Democratically elected President-Elect from assuming office on January 20th. These people are not “protestors,” they are domestic terrorists and should be treated as such in the eyes of the law. The United States does not bow to domestic terrorism. IFPTE calls on Vice President Pence to exercise the 25th Amendment and move to immediately have President Trump removed from office.
Executive Director Bonnie Castillo, RN, National Nurses United (NNU)
Nurses agree with the statement by President-elect Biden that “our democracy is under unprecedented assault, unlike anything we have seen in modern times’ and his labelling of the violent assault on the Capitol today as insurrection.” As nurses, we are deeply disturbed by the scenes of violence and threats to our elected leaders, the dedicated people who work in the Capitol, and anyone else subjected to this unconscionable attack on our most fundamental symbols of democracy. This was a violent attempt to stop Congress from confirming the people’s choice for president and vice president. As such, it’s an attack on democracy itself, instigated by the president of the United States. The actions we have seen unfold today are the inevitable result of what President Trump has inspired and incited for years, from encouraging attacks on protesters at his rallies and on officials ordering safety measures in response to the pandemic, to embracing armed white supremacists, to the constant demonization, in the starkest of terms, of his political opponents. All of that has escalated in the weeks leading to the election, and especially after the November vote when the president has denounced the legitimacy of a democratic election, promoted outlandish conspiracy theories, and urged his armed supporters to act to “save this country.” The president has been encouraging sedition. No one is above the law. He is responsible for the scenes we have seen today at the Capitol and he should be held accountable. We, as a nation, must come together to begin to heal, to refocus first and foremost on containing this terrible pandemic, and on being able to respect political differences and rebuild a democracy that has been so endangered.
International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART)
We have just witnessed a sad day in American history. Leave no doubt, these violent, anti-democratic actions were incited by the current president and his cohorts—both elected and unelected—who have misled their supporters for far too long. SMART, along with our sisters and brothers across the labor movement, rejects all threats to a peaceful transition of power and stands ready to defend our nation’s democratic institutions.
United Steelworkers (USW)
President Donald Trump spent the last four years stoking the flames of division, feeding a constant stream of deliberate misinformation to his base and openly attacking the basic tenets of American democracy. His focus has been his own self-interest and not on the preservation of our nation or his constitutional duties as the president. Yesterday, his inflammatory rhetoric finally culminated in a group of his misguided supporters storming the U.S. Capitol, and putting the lives of government leaders and workers at risk. Tragically, four people are now dead as a result of this unpatriotic attack, and America is left to pick up the pieces in the wake of domestic terrorism he has spurred. The USW is repulsed by this episode and this president, but we are determined to do everything we can to protect our republic and ensure President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s peaceful transition to the White House on Jan. 20. As a free and independent labor movement, we can never stand by and watch a demagogue tear down our institutions and rights as Americans. The nation is not Donald Trump’s private playground. The people have spoken, as they do every four years, and it is time to move forward rebuilding our country on a firm foundation of equality, justice and peace.
President Charlie Flemming (IAM) and Secretary Treasurer Yvonne Brooks (AFSCME), Georgia AFL-CIO
The Georgia AFL-CIO, the state’s largest federation of Georgia’s working people, wholeheartedly condemns the unconscionable attempted insurrections on the Georgia and U.S Capitol buildings. Yesterday was supposed to be a day of celebration and elation as Americans across the country woke up to the news that Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff were projected to win their historical Senate runoff election races. By midday, we witnessed in horror as President Donald Trump, fresh off the heels from spreading months of lies about the presidential election, sparked and encouraged an insurrection that laid siege to the very center of our democracy. And here in Georgia, we watched as one of the brightest days in our state’s history turned into catastrophe as an armed pro-Trump mob of white supremacist militias swarmed our state Capitol, leading to the evacuation of Brad Raffensberger and his staff members. This is not what America’s labor movement stands for and we will not stand for this. President Trump has abused his office and is a clear and present danger to American citizens. We call on Congress to hold every person involved in this unconscionable attack accountable, from the Atlanta Police Department, to the Capitol Police, to Republican congressional leaders.