By a unanimous vote of delegates to the NM State Council passed a resolution in support of Council FIRE. This makes seventeen states that have now voted to support us as we bring issues of Indian Country to the house of Labor. We have also been endorsed by the Ontario Provincial Labor Council, Labor Coalition for Latin American Advancement, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists and the International Labor Communicators Association.
The mission of Labor, and Native teaching, have a close walk in many areas. The seven generations view in Tribal culture is a parallel to Labor’s fight to protect elders through safe workplaces, pensions and healthcare – as well as developing a good path for youth through apprenticeships and decent wages.
In many areas, Labor and Tribes work together closely. The history of Project Labor Agreements and Memorandums of Understanding between them have allowed good training, benefits and wages for tribal members, and good jobs for members of the Unions. Council FIRE is uniquely poised to bridge a closer walk for the two, and build a better future for all.
Labor already has constituency groups that lift the issues of Blacks, Latino’s, Women, Veterans, Youth, Asian Pacific Islanders, LGBTQ and Veterans – and these groups are doing wonderful work in education and activism. It is time for those who were here first to have a full voice at the table, and each state that passes a resolution of support brings us closer to realizing the dream of inclusion.
Special appreciation to Jay Jaramillo, Ernest “Red” Dow, IAM International President Robert Martinez and IAM General Vice President Gary Allen for their good work in making this happen. The International Association of Machinist’s have championed our mission from the very beginning, and continue to lead the effort for full recognition of Native rights.
Council FIRE was presented to the AFLCIO Convention late last year, and is to be addressed at their upcoming executive board meeting to vote on whether or not to formally include the voices of Indian Country into the house of Labor. Many Union members have Native blood, believe in protecting Mother Earth, and have skills and energy that can make a difference.
The time is now to live up to the phrase “Liberty and Justice for All” – NO Exceptions Please lift a prayer that good hearts and minds will seize this opportunity to do the right thing.