You choose the career,
together we chart the path.

Dear 1199C Family,

On the night of Wednesday, August 26th, 2020, members of the National Basketball Players Association exercised power over their own labor by refusing to take the court: an illegal, "wildcat" strike forbidden by their contract with the NBA, called in protest against the racist shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin by members of the police force there. This occurred just two days before the 1199C Family's annual commemoration of the life and legacy of union organizer Norman Rayford, who was himself murdered by a private security guard while picketing Metropolitan Hospital on August 28th, 1972.

Though 40 years separate these events, they both represent the ongoing fight of Black and Brown communities for liberation from domination perpetrated by the white power structure in this country through institutional and personal racism and outright violence. Violence imposed by the police, by fascist, white supremacist groups, by individuals and sustained explicitly and implicitly by institutions at all levels of our society.

There is so much still to fight against, and to fight for. It is not just the brutality of white supremacy that must change, but the everyday violence and domination stemming from white privilege occurring in personal interactions between ordinary white people and Black and Brown people. Those of us who are white need to own our white privilege, and be accountable for changing our behavior if anything is really going to change in this country.

Norman Rayford’s and our union’s fight for justice, along with the NBA players' collective action, represent the power of labor in boldly standing up against racism, white privilege, and white supremacy.

The Training Fund’s existence represents the legacy of our union’s struggle – recognizing that economic racism is perpetrated in part by lack of access to education, credentials, and family sustaining employment. This is the work of the Training Fund. This is our work.

This Friday, the Training Fund and all 1199C offices will be closed in commemoration of Norman Rayford's sacrifice. You can learn more about Norman's life and legacy at Please remember him, alongside Jacob Black, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and the thousands of other Black and Brown Americans who have lost their lives or liberty unnecessarily to the forces of state violence.

In solidarity,

Cheryl Feldman
Executive Director, District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund