GRU demands that OHSU combat police brutality

Graduate Researchers United condemns the police murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, and David McAtee and the violent repression of protests by police around the country. We stand in solidarity with demonstrators who are fighting for racial justice and an end to police brutality.

The GRU takes seriously the longstanding labor motto from the Industrial Workers of the World that “an injury to one is an injury to all.” Right now, we see Black people being grievously injured and murdered as a continuation of the racial subjugation, exploitation, and colonial genocide that this country was built upon. We recognize the members of our union that bear the burden of a lifetime of injustice and continuous trauma. We stand with Portland Black Lives Matter organizers in calling for reform, accountability, and transparency locally.

Our parent union, AFSCME, belongs to an umbrella federation of national labor unions known as the AFL-CIO. Importantly, the national AFL-CIO welcomes police unions to affiliate with the group. Our position is that police unions too often use their power to protect individuals and institutions that contribute to the murder and oppression of the most marginalized people in our society, ultimately upholding white supremacy. Police “unions” do not make workers any safer or stronger.

We are currently working with leaders of other graduate student unions to draft a letter calling on the AFL-CIO to end affiliation with any police union in their federation and to commit to discontinuing union organizing of police. Once the letter has been finalized, our members will vote on whether GRU should publicly sign onto it. If you would like to become a member to take part in this and other crucial voting decisions, please fill out the online registration form here.

Furthermore, we will pressure OHSU to publicly address, and work to rectify, their own complicity in recreating the oppressive structures of white supremacy. We call on OHSU to:

  • Disarm their own internal police force

  • Provide materials and trained medics to front-line demonstrators

  • Pressure Portland city government to ban the use of tear gas against demonstrators

  • Publicly take a stand against police brutality, both here in Portland and across the country. To be silent is to be complicit.

The GRU asks that our members get involved and support our local Black communities and organizers, who have been doing this work for years. We ask our members to support our local POC advocacy groups. You can sign up for their newsletter, find valuable resources, and donate to the Alliance for Visible Diversity in Science

We stand up and fight back with you, always. 

Black Lives Matter.