Washington, D.C. – The International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers’ General President Eric Dean issued the following statement in response to the nationwide protests:
As a union, the Iron Workers have fought long and hard to overcome the discriminatory policies of the past and to create an environment of inclusion and fairness in workplaces across the country. We believe in equality. And we support the rights of all people to peacefully assemble, to protest when injustices occur, and to make sure those in power hear the message loud and clear.
In the middle of a global pandemic – while the coronavirus continues to disproportionately ravage communities of color – Americans have come face to face with the injustice and inhumanity many of our brothers and sisters bear quietly every day. Centuries of inequality, of separate and unequal treatment, and of our society’s failure to afford basic protections to all people, reached a tipping point with George Floyd’s senseless death in Minneapolis last week.
Protests began in Minneapolis and continue night after night in cities across the country. Our nation is suffering. We simply cannot continue with business as usual when our black and brown brothers and sisters are dying. Brothers and sisters, we are with you.
The peaceful protests taking place across the country, and rightfully so, must be distinguished from the unrest, destruction and violence that a small faction has sown.
While our nation looks for leadership during this turbulent time, the Iron Workers will continue to stand for social and economic justice, to be citizens of goodwill, and to do what it takes to support and protect our brothers and sisters of color.
*** The Iron Workers (IW) represents 130,000 members in North America who work in construction on bridges; structural steel; ornamental, architectural, and miscellaneous metals; rebar; and in fabrication shops.