Rhode Island AFL-CIO Endorses Ballot Question Changing the Official Name of the State of Rhode Island


Providence, RI - On Monday, September 21, 2020, the executive board of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO unanimously voted to endorse the proposed amendment to the state’s Constitution, dropping the phrase “ and Providence Plantations” from the official state name. The 80,000 member AFL-CIO is the largest labor organization in the state, representing working men and women in every community in Rhode Island.


Rhode Island AFL-CIO President George Nee said, “It is time for Rhode Island to remove the hurtful references to plantations in the official state name. Part of the mission of the AFL-CIO is to “vanquish oppression, privation and cruelty in all their forms” and one of those forms is embedded in the very name of our state. As working people, we cherish the idea of solidarity and take seriously the idea that “an injury to one is an injury to all.” As the entire country struggles to come to terms with the original sin of slavery in America, we as union members must also do our part. This is an important step in the right direction.”


Rhode Island AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Patrick Crowley said, “Black Lives Matter is not just a slogan: it is a call to action. As we identify the elements of structural racism that are holding us back as a country and as a state, we are committed to tearing down those structures that reinforce inequality and discrimination. It’s about more than a name on stationary – it is about standing together with all our sisters and brothers, in every community, and moving our state forward.” 


The Rhode Island AFL-CIO is calling upon all members, and all working families, to vote YES on Question 1 to support the changing of the official name of the state on November 3.