AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond is the highest-ranking African American officer in the history of America’s labor movement. He has spent his entire life fighting for racial justice in the workplace and throughout our communities.
Redmond encouraged IAM delegates at the 40th Grand Lodge Convention with a message of faith in the American worker and confidence in the future of the Labor Movement.
“America is finally waking up to how critical organized labor is to the future of this country, and the Machinists Union, you showed this country that it does not run without you,” said Redmond.
He referenced Local S6’s strike in 2020 when 4,300 IAM shipbuilders at Bath Ironworks walked off the job in the largest strike in America at that time.
“Every union member in this country had their backs, and they won a fair contract for themselves, their families, and their communities,” said Redmond. “Once again, it was the fighting machinists who showed America that solidarity pays off, you showed America the power of what it means to be a union member.”
Redmond voiced his strong solidarity with Machinists Union members on strike with Weyerhaeuser timber company, saying that IAM’s display of large-scale solidarity is what gives workers the strength to stand up to disrespect from powerful corporations making record profits off the backs of union members.
“Those woodworkers, they kept the timber industry moving during the pandemic, and America’s labor movement will not rest until Weyerhaeuser comes back with an offer that our brothers and sisters deserve,” said Redmond. “We will not rest!”
He spoke on the labor movement’s history of standing alongside workers, challenging inhumane working conditions, creating safety standards, and “transforming grim and dangerous jobs into good family-sustaining careers, industry by industry.”
“Workers all over the country, especially young people, they are embracing unions as a vehicle to speak up at work, as a vehicle, to demand respect on the job and to strengthen our communities,” said Redmond.
Redmond ended with a call for unity and strength among working people at the ballot box, prompting union members to vote for politicians who lift the working class.
“We need the Machinists now more than ever. We need you to keep organizing, mobilizing, keep being a force for working people, and keep building an America that works for all of us. Let’s show the nation what grass-roots power looks like,” said Redmond.