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2020 brought crisis after crisis; Let’s reflect on lessons learned
From the Minneapolis Labor Review, December 18, 2020

By Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou, President,
Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation

I hope we all take some time to reflect on the state of our communities as we embark on 2021. As 2020 went on, we really only had time to react to every crisis being thrown our way and minimize the damage. While we did great things in the face adversity, the symbolic renewal offered by the New Year is a perfect time for deeper reflection.

How has the past year impacted your life? Your family? Your community? Your work? Your union?

What lessons will you take from this experience going forward?

One reflection I would like to recognize is resilience.

The resilience of workers once again has been proven and is one of the biggest assets of our movement.

Without workers’ resilience, this pandemic would have been left solely in the hands elected leadership and big business, which would have resulted in even more devastating effects.

Together, we need to show kindness, empathy and solidarity with our fellow workers and with our neighbors.

As we’ve seen the pandemic imperil our nation and our state, we’ve also witnessed the expert workmanship and dedication of our frontline workers saving the day.

And we’ve all done our part: the sacrifices each of our families have been made to endure have changed the course of the disease — preventing even greater losses.

From layoffs, to caring for loved ones, to learning at home, our families have given so much. And, for the most part, all of these challenges have been accepted with grace and resilience.

This resilience reaches even deeper for our workers of color and our families of color. Structures embedded in our economy and even within our own workers movement have left our families of color behind once again. This resilience in the face of racial injustice should not be admired but eliminated. We cannot go into the New Year without a renewed commitment to undoing these injustices and acknowledging our role to join in that work.

The New Year also is an important time to recommit our workers movement to being the best version of ourselves. Forces at play are trying to divide our labor movement at every turn. We need to see these tactics for what they are. Together, we need to show kindness, empathy and solidarity with our fellow workers and with our neighbors.

While I know we all are happy to close the door on 2020, the challenges of this past year still loom large going forward. The pandemic still rages. Many families are struggling economically. And our nation is deeply divided and polarized.

I see glimmers of hope, however, with a vaccine on the horizon and a renewed sense of purpose in organizing.

So, as you reflect and recommit yourself to the work ahead, know that we have much to be grateful for — and endless opportunities.

Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou was re-elected December 11, 2019 to a second four-year term as president of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO.

Contact MRLF president Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou at 612-321-5670 or chelsie@minneapolisunions.org.


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