Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Union Members Expel National Guard From St Paul Minnesota Labor Center

Union members from the Minneapolis area successfully expelled the National Gaurd from the St. Paul Labor Center. This action is a critical demonstration of solidarity between labor and the fight against police brutality.

Cliff Willmeng

April 15, 2021
Facebook Twitter Share

Following several union meetings on Wednesday night, I was made aware that a National Guard unit was occupying the St. Paul Labor Center in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota. Other union members and I were sharply aware of the National Guard’s role in repressing protests during the trial of Derek Chauvin and the recent killing of Daunte Wright, and we concluded immediately that our union hall had no place in those militarized efforts against the Black community, activists, and working class people.  

Rank and file union members, community activists, and various union staff members assembled at the Labor Center Wednesday night and found more than 15 armored vehicles, and 50 National Guard troops had been given the keys to the central union facility. Workers from CWA, MNA, UBC and other locals informed the soldiers that union members support the communities harmed by police violence and racism and that the Labor Center was off limits to armed forces participating in repressing protests across the Twin Cities.  

Left Voice is hosting a panel with Bessemer Amazon worker and Black liberation activist, a member of SEIU Drop the Cops and Robin D.G. Kelly, author of Hammer and Hoe to Black struggle and the labor movement.  Sign up and RSVP to the Facebook event.

Minnesota political circles had already militarized the metropolitan area as the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Dereck Chauvin reached its second week. Across Minneapolis and St. Paul, police agencies and the National Guard held street corners and strategic intersections in preparation for renewed civil unrest. The police presence increased further after the murder of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, a town located immediately outside of Minneapolis.

Breaking the imposed curfew, union members assembled at the hall Wednesday night and demanded the immediate exit of the troops. Initial conversations with the National Guard and police revealed that a member of the Labor Federation had given them the key to the hall. After union members made a series of phone calls to the individual, he arrived at the scene and entered into conversation with the troops stationed inside the union hall. 

Workers spoke with Guard members, expressing understanding of the soldiers’ working class background and orders, but imploring them to break ranks and join the anti-racist movement sparked by the murders of Black people by the police. 

Within a short time, all members of the National Guard began packing their belongings and exiting the building, with the labor podcast “We Do The Work” streaming live video from the action on its Facebook page. Within one hour, the armored vehicles were loaded with all of the soldiers and exited the ground of the Labor Center. The collective effort and demands of union members compelled the exit of the National Guard. 

The action of union members against the National Guard’s repression of the Black Lives Matter movement demonstrates that organized labor is a critical and powerful force and must side with working class people rising up against systemic racism, not on the side of police repression. The united force of working class people, organized and acting on our power, can not only turn the tide in specific protests; it could transform our world. That power has to be reclaimed and wielded by rank and file union members today. Once we do that, no politician, CEO or military in the world will be able to stop us.

Facebook Twitter Share

Guest Posts

A protester waves a sign that read "unionize" near the Country Club Plaza Starbucks store where dozens of Starbucks employees and union supporters protested alleged anti-union tactics by the company Thursday, March 3, 2022.

El Paso Starbucks Workers Are Organizing in the Face of Relentless Union Busting

Starbucks’s preemptive union-busting tactics in El Paso, Texas, have backfired and inspired workers at the Fountains to unionize.

Paul Ginestá

May 20, 2022
A tank firing in Ukraine during the Russian invasion.

Global Military Spending Reaches Record High

World military spending has passed $2 trillion for the first time ever. Now, more than ever, we need to fight for a world that eliminates competition and war, and fight for international solidarity.

Robert Narai

May 17, 2022

The Biden Administration Is Protecting the Murderers of Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, and Others

The Biden administration said they were on the side of Black Lives Matter. That was always a lie. And now they are protecting the murders of Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner and many more Black people by cops.

Daniel Werst

May 10, 2022
A protest, people are milling around. In the center of the frame is a woman playing the trombone.

‘I’m Not Waiting Until After The November Midterms For My Rights’ Speech By A Feminist Activist In Detroit

As protests against the leak of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe V. Wade take place around the country, Detroit-based activist Rebecca Paris made the following speech at a rally. We re-print her speech here.

Rebecca Paris

May 7, 2022

MOST RECENT

Somali troops stand in formation during a graduation ceremony after being trained by U.S. forces in Mogadishu on Aug. 17, 2018.

Biden Is Expanding U.S. Military Intervention in Somalia

President Biden recently approved an order to send hundreds of troops to Somalia. This move serves the interests of U.S. imperialism by taking advantage of the very political instability it helped create.

Sam Carliner

May 20, 2022
Semi-empty store shelf with a few cans of baby formula.

The Baby Formula Shortage Is a Capitalist Crisis of Social Reproduction

The baby formula shortage is a consequence of capitalism and a crisis of social reproduction. Formula should not be commodified and sold — it should be free and a basic right for all parents.

People protest in support of the unionizing efforts of the Alabama Amazon workers, in Los Angeles, California, March 22, 2021.

Amazon Won’t Stop Union Busting and Firing Organizers

Amazon hasn't recognized the Amazon Labor Union and, like Starbucks, is continuing to union bust and fire organizers.

Luigi Morris

May 20, 2022
SEIU local 721 members at a rally wearing purple and holding signs for fair wage increases.

SEIU 721, Vote No! A Better Contract Is Possible

Union leaders of SEIU 721 have reached a deal with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. But there are big problems with the proposed agreement, and the rank and file should vote against it.

Left Voice

May 20, 2022