Press "Enter" to skip to content

Labor, Art and History: The Fight to Preserve the Solidarity Mural

For 50 years, the solidarity mural, which claims the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers (UE) building in Chicago as its home, has been inspiring and bringing familiarity for union members. For many class-oriented trade unionists the mural should look familiar as the cover to the UE’s Them and Us Unionism pamphlet which outlines the UE’s organizational strategy.

The mural painted by a team led by John Pitman Weber and Jose Guerrero displays a fraternity of workers and unions, which transcends race and organizes against repression by the bosses, their lackeys and external terrorist organizations like the Ku Klux Klan. This artwork has not only aesthetic appeal, but teaches people about the importance of unions and organizing labor. It is worth noting that the United Electrical workers was the first union chartered by the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), which formed in large part to combat the segregationist policies of the American Federation of Labor (AFL).

Today, changing community and gentrification threaten the very legacy advanced by the mural. The loss of these murals would be a major loss to culture and history for not only Chicago, but to the labor movement as a whole. Fortunately, UE President Carl Rosen is working with the Chicago public art group to preserve this history.

For readers who want to help protect this precious relic of labor history, the UE is running a fundraising campaign to help preserve the mural, as of February 23rd they have already raised enough funds to preserve 90% of the mural, any donation helps in the efforts. It is a small action that lets the people of Chicago and the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers in particular know that the community appreciates this cultural heritage.

Photo Credit: UE

Mission News Theme by Compete Themes.