Unionized public bus drivers in Minneapolis are refusing to aid police in transporting arrested protesters to jail, in a show of solidarity described as "a game-changer" for those demanding justice for George Floyd.
ATU Local 1005, the Minneapolis-St. Paul chapter of the 200,000-strong Amalgamated Transit Union, released a statement late Thursday saying they would not bring police officers to the protests that are expected to continue this weekend, or transport arrested protesters.
To participate in detaining people who are demanding police accountability after an officer was caught on camera killing an unarmed, handcuffed black man, the union said, would be "a misuse of public transit."
"As our members—bus drivers—have the right to refuse work they consider dangerous or unsafe during the pandemic, so too Minneapolis bus drivers—our members—have the right to refuse the dangerous duty of transporting police to protests and arrested demonstrators away from these communities where many of these drivers live," Local 1005 President John Costa said in a statement.
"More than ever, we need a new civil rights movement," the union wrote in a letter posted to social media. "A civil rights movement that is joined with the labor movement... In ATU we have a saying, 'Not One More'when dealing with driver assaults which in some cases have led to members being murdered while doing their job. We say 'Not One More' execution of a black life by the hands of police."
The show of solidarity was applauded on social media.
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Solidarity from the Minneapolis bus drivers! Many refused to work with police and would not transport protestors to jail. Their union, ATU Local 1005, issued this solidarity statement: pic.twitter.com/OvJyTLMiuz
— Minh-Ha T. Pham (@minh81) May 29, 2020
THIS is where the rubber meets the road. All Power to the People.https://t.co/p09UVckZez
— Heather Whittier (@ReallyReallyDo) May 29, 2020
Civil rights advocates who have been protesting in Minneapolis for the past three days indicated they would continue, as demands intensified for the arrests of the three officers who stood by while Derek Chauvin placed his body weight on Floyd's neck Monday. Chauvin was arrested Friday and charged with manslaughter and third degree murder.
On Facebook, union members from all over the country joined a group called Union Members for Justice for George Floyd, pledging to ensure their labor is not used to help the Minneapolis police or other law enforcement agencies "shut down calls for justice."