Category: union movement

Boycotts of ‘Stand Your Ground’ group

by Melanie Wilmoth Navarro

(Note: This article was updated on 4/10/12.)

In the wake of Trayvon Martin’s killing, groups are boycotting the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

ALEC is the well-funded conservative organization behind the controversial “stand your ground” gun laws.  Organizations like Color of Change have pressured groups to stop funding ALEC, and NPR reports that major U.S. companies like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have recently dropped their ALEC memberships:

“Two of America’s best-known companies, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, have dropped their memberships in the American Legislative Exchange Council, a low-profile conservative organization behind the national proliferation of “stand your ground” gun laws.

ALEC promotes business-friendly legislation in state capitols and drafts model bills for state legislatures to adopt. They range from little-noticed pro-business bills to more controversial measures, including voter-identification laws and stand your ground laws based on the Florida statute. About two-dozen states now have such laws.

Florida’s stand your ground law has been cited in the slaying of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teen who was shot and killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman on Feb. 26.”

In addition to stand your ground and voter ID laws, ALEC supports a number of disturbing initiatives, including prison privatization, anti-labor union bills, and Arizona-style immigration policies.  Other major companies that fund ALEC include Walmart, Kraft Foods, AT&T, Johnson & Johnson, UPS, and ExxonMobil.

Let’s continue to put pressure on these organizations to divest from ALEC.  Hopefully, they will follow in the footsteps of Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Co.

UPDATE (4/10/12):

Several more groups, including Kraft Foods, Intuit (the maker of Turbo Tax), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and McDonalds, have decided to withdraw support for ALEC.

In Memoriam: The Rev. Addie Wyatt

The Rev. Addie Wyatt (on left)

By Alan Bean

Until I read this article in the Chicago Tribune, I had never heard of the Rev. Addie Wyatt.  That’s a pity.  Wyatt was a Christian pastor, a champion of women’s rights, a civil rights activist, and a union organizer.  Quite a package.  I’m not sure a single person could wear all four hats in the 21st century.

Some might see this as a good thing.  Last week I posted an article from the Associated Baptist Press on the silence of white pastors regarding the Trayvon Martin case.  This prompted a curt response from a reader: “There is nothing in Scripture,” he said, “that supports the claim that pastors are to serve as prophets or politicians.”

I suspect the reader also believes there is no biblical support for women pastors.

The Reverend Addie Wyatt would have been our reader’s worst nightmare: a politically active prophet with an iron in every fire.  I hope we see more women like her; but I fear we will not.

5-foot-4 activist stood tall on labor, civil and women’s rights

Dawn Turner Trice

April 2, 2012

Often when people think of black women activists who were deep in the trenches, they recall Ella Baker and Fannie Lou Hamer. Chicago’s Rev. Addie Wyatt, who died last week at 88, should also come to mind.

Wyatt stood a modest 5 feet, 4 inches tall. She was often impeccably dressed — though not overly fancy — and when she spoke it was with such precision that you’d have to listen closely to detect a hint of her native Mississippi.

What made Wyatt a giant is that she was one of the few people who had a tremendous influence on three of the most important movements of the 20th century — the struggles for labor, civil and women’s rights. She was a fervent believer that the three were interconnected and that everyone’s fate rose and fell on the same tide.

As a union representative, she was fearless and didn’t mind entering the offices of white male management officials in 1950s Chicago and challenging them about discriminatory practices against women and blacks.

As a civil rights activist, she helpedMartin Luther King Jr.organize events in Chicago and in the South. But she wasn’t shy about reminding the male-dominated standard-bearers that women weren’t just window dressing and needed to be included in leadership roles. (more…)