In this third episode of Black Work Talk’s Season Two, co-hosts Steven Pitts and Bill Fletcher talk with Bert Bayou. Bert is DC Chapter Director of African Communities Together (ACT) and Vice President of UNITE HERE Local 23. ACT is an organization of African immigrants with chapters in Washington DC and New York. ACT provides services and organizes for power. Local 23 represents airport workers in 10 cities across the United States.
We talked about Bert’s work in both organizations and it appeared that in DC, there was a great deal of overlap between the two organizations. African immigrants (mainly Ethiopian immigrants) are a large portion of the workforce at National and Dulles Airports and prior to significant worker engagement, organizers went to great length to understand the conditions of the workers in their communities. This community-orientation was important as voter engagement work was done in the 2020 Presidential Election and runoff race in Georgia. Bert also spoke of the devastating impact of the pandemic on members on the job and in their communities.