To: AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler and the AFL-CIO Executive Council
Stop Jon Byrd. Fully investigate the cover up & protect Michigan workers
President Shuler and Executive Council,
Finally the whispers around Lansing and Michigan political circles have finally made it to the front page. The Michigan AFL-CIO has been plauged by decades of rumors of rapes, organized sexual assualts and a clear campaign to coverup these unthinkable sex crimes. The sex crimes of Jon Byrd and the powerful men who protect him are coming to light.
As you are all well aware, longtime Michigan Laborers' District Council External Affairs Director and South Central Michigan Area Labor Council President, and still Secretary of Michigan AFL - CIO Advocates, Jon Byrd has finally begun to be held accountable for multiple sex crimes and abuses of power.
Something stinks in Michigan. Rumors of similar horrific sex crimes hang over the leadership of LIUNA in Michigan. Jon Byrd remains listed as Michigan AFL-CIO leadership.
No longer can we sit. Action must be taken. First there must be an investigation. When did the Michigan AFL CIO and LIUNA first become aware of the rape allegations? What affirmative steps were taken? What were systemic failures? Which of these failures were part of an organized campaign to smear victims and whistleblowers? There has been a campaign of retaliation against whistleblowers and victims alike. How do we make this right?
Outside counsel must be retained and a committee of the Executive Counsel must be empowered to root out the corruption within the Michigan AFL-CIO, and stop the men who are empowering LIUNA's Jon Byrd to rape and sexually assault women with impunity. This pattern is continued and permissive. Jon Byrd is the tip of the iceberg.
I am deeply concerned about Jon Byrd remaining in leadership within the Michigan AFL - CIO. I am horrified by the implications of State Federation and LIUNA leadership that has failed to protect our sisters and brothers from the predator Jon Byrd. The rumors about leadership must be investigated.
Jon Byrd has more than a two decades sexual assault allegations finally catching up and he himself has admitted sexual misconduct dating back decades.
I first became aware of allegations against Jon Byrd almost twenty years ago when we were both involved with the Michigan Young Democrats. The Genesee County Democratic machine and some within statewide organized labor effectively silenced, retaliated ending careers and assassinated the character of at least one of Job Byrd's victims.
I have spent the past 20 years organizing workers and it has bothered me that I could not effectively speak up against Jon Byrd and those powerful men who protected his rapist behavior.
President Shuler, I have always looked to you as a fearless leader with integrity that is not afraid of any party boss. I respect and appreciate your leadership and service to our Workers Movement. Though I only personally know a fraction of the Executive Council, I can say with the same level of respect for your own leadership and the rank and file that you represent. I thank you each, but now comes the time to ask: Which side are you on?
The allegations against Jon Byrd are true. This is who he is and what he does. This is who the men defending Jon Byrd are and what they do, too.
We need to hold Jon Byrd accountable and remove him from all positions of power and influence. We must investigate the depth and scope of the rumored conspiracy. Those men who protect Jon Byrd need to be removed from their positions. We need to engage in a transparent process to restore the integrity destroyed by Jon Byrd and the systems and structures that failed, need to improve.
Workers deserve better. Members deserve better.
Do not stay silent. The organizational inaction on Jon Byrd and the apparent coverup is tarnishing the movement. The House of Labor must be above reproach. We have a problem. We must stop Jon Byrd. We must make it clear which side we are on. We must stop the men who protect Jon Byrd.
Demand his resignation. Speak up. Investigate. Act.
Our community needs your leadership.
Why is this important?
Sisters Brothers and Family,
It's not complicated. The Union is the best tool for working people to unite together and win improved wages and working conditions. The labor movement allows us working people to join together against powerful adversaries and advance our shared values.
Right now there is something that stinks within the Michigan AFL-CIO. Time is up for Jon Byrd, the longtime Michigan Laborers' District Council External Affairs Director, South Central Michigan Area Labor Council President and Secretary of the Michigan AFL-CIO Advocates 501c3.
The story finally made it to the press. Read the articles. These rumors have been brewing for decades.
Now is the time for leadership to act. There is no neutral. Which side are you on? Sign on to my letter to national AFL CIO President Liz Shuler and the AFL CIO Executive Council. Michigan AFL CIO Leadership failed to protect members and the public. Now I am calling on national leadership to step in and do their job. Join me. Which side are you on?