Dallas, Texas , United States
|| June 11, 1950
Mar 16, 2019 09:27pm
Union Member -
|Info||Alyson Kennedy grew up in a working-class neighborhood in Indianapolis. She was attracted to political action in high school as she watched TV coverage of workers and youth who were Black battling racist cops and KKK thugs across the South and overturning Jim Crow segregation. She moved to Kentucky, where she was part of the fight to desegregate Louisville public schools in 1975. |
Kennedy works at Walmart in Chicago and is part of the movement for $15 an hour, full-time work and a union that has sprung up among fast-food, Walmart and many other workers.
A socialist and trade union fighter for more than four decades, Kennedy, 65, is a member of the Socialist Workers Party’s National Committee. She was the SWP candidate for vice president in 2008 and for U.S. Senate from Illinois in 2010.
She has worked in coal mines in Alabama, Colorado, Utah and West Virginia. She joined the United Mine Workers in 1981. She became part of the Coal Employment Project, a group that championed women’s fights to get hired in the mines and fight harassment on the job.
From 2003 to 2006 Kennedy was among those in the front ranks of a union-organizing battle at the Co-Op coal mine outside Huntington, Utah. The miners there, a majority immigrants from Mexico, fought for UMWA representation to win safe working conditions, an end to abuse by the bosses and improved wages, which started at $5 an hour. Their struggle won widespread solidarity and set a powerful example of how to fight.
In 2014 Kennedy went to Turkey to meet with coal miners there and help them get out the truth in the U.S. and elsewhere about their fight against deadly working conditions imposed by the owners with government complicity. A mine explosion in the town of Soma had killed more than 300 miners. She also met with a representative of the Kurdish-based People’s Democratic Party (HDP) there, bringing solidarity to the Kurds’ fight against national oppression across Turkey as well as in Syria, Iraq and Iran.
Kennedy has also worked in plants and mills organized by the United Steelworkers, UNITE HERE as a garment worker, and other unions.
Kennedy is active in the fight to defend a woman’s right to choose abortion, has spoken widely on the fight for women’s rights and has helped defend clinics from rightist attempts to shut them down.
Kennedy marched with members of the Chicago Teachers Union on strike against a bitter assault by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and city officials in 2012, walked picket lines with United Steelworkers locked out by Honeywell Corp. in Metropolis, Illinois, in 2010 and again in 2014, as well as with United Auto Workers members on strike last year against Kohler Inc. in Wisconsin. She joined protests in Kentucky, West Virginia and St. Louis by union coal miners fighting attempts by Patriot Coal bosses to use bankruptcy to tear up union contracts.
She has been active in the fight against Washington’s wars, from protests against the war in Vietnam to speaking out against the bloody aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan.
She’s been a stalwart in demonstrations against the cop killings of Laquan McDonald, Rekia Boyd, Quintonio LeGrier, Bettie Jones and many others, as well as actions over years demanding the release from prison of men tortured into making false confessions by former Chicago Police Lt. Jon Burge’s “Midnight Crew.”