The AFL-CIO, which counts prison guards belonging to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) as members, passed a resolution calling for prison reform. For some, AFSCME’s support of the resolution was surprising. Unionized prison guards make up a large part of AFSCME’s membership, and have resisted criminal justice reform in the past. Announcing the resolution, The Nation reports that AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka calls mass incarceration "…a betrayal of the American promise.”
Unionized prison guards have been vocal in their opposition of closing prisons, which could put union members out of a job. But, concerned that overcrowded prisons put both guards and prisoners in danger, the AFL-CIO is now calling for reform measures.
The Nation’s article on why the AFL-CIO wants to put the brakes on mass incarceration brings added insight on the major role the union plans to take on pushing for a labor-community call to action for prison reform.