America faces a crisis on three critical fronts: a public health pandemic, an economic free fall and long-standing structural racism. As organized labor, we must urgently address all three with precision and purpose. They cannot be fixed separately.
On June 17, 2020, the National AFL-CIO organized the “Workers First” nationwide day of action for racial and economic justice, and thousands of working people across the country came together at local events and car caravans from coast to coast. The goal of the day of action was to put pressure on the U.S. Senate to pass the HEROES Act, as well as raise awareness for what the AFL-CIO has identified as America’s Five Economic Essentials:
- Keep front-line workers safe and secure
- Keep workers employed and protect earned pension checks
- Keep state and local governments, our public schools and the U.S. Postal Service solvent and working
- Keep America healthy—protect and expand health insurance for all workers
- Keep America competitive—hire people to build infrastructure
America’s Five Economic Essentials must be combined with substantial policing reforms and implemented in ways that recognize the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on workers of color, for a comprehensive agenda that addresses all working people’s needs for safe jobs, economic security and freedom from systemic racism.
In northern California, six IBEW 1245 members from the City of Redding joined the “Worker’s First” car caravan, hosted by the Five Counties Central Labor Council. and lead by Labor Council President (and retired IBEW 1245 staffer) Ray Thomas.
“We had 15 cars participate in the caravan, and the turn-out from Local 1245 was phenomenal, thanks to 1245 Business Representative Dominic McCurtain (with assistance from his wife Becky, daughter Elaina, and baby daughter Annica),” said Thomas. “In addition, 1245 members Chris Holdren and his daughter Alexia, Rob Baber, Chris Bryant, Anthony Green, Darrell McDaniel, Dave Williams, and 1245 retiree Stu Neblett all caravanned in support of working men and women!”
Sporting their 1245 essential worker tee shirts and masks, the members decorated their cars with signs and proceeded to drive through town, stopping at Shasta Regional Medical Center, Redding City Hall, and the U.S. Post Office. At each stop, the participants hopped out of their cars for a brief rally. A local news station captured the event and broadcast it on the evening news. Watch the coverage here.
“I want to thank 1245 Business Manager Tom Dalzell, Senior Assistant Business Manager Bob Dean, Assistant Business Manager Dylan Gottfried, and the entire Local for their support of our members’ participation in this event,” said Dominic McCurtain, the IBEW 1245 business rep for the City of Redding and surrounding properties. “It was very well-received by the community members that we interacted with, and those participating all had a great time.”
“Thank you Local 1245 for helping to make the caravan a success!” echoed Thomas.
–Rebecca Band, IBEW 1245 Communications Director