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The path to the presidency runs through the labor movement.

Thousands of working people across the country joined together on June 17 in a national day of action. We called for the Senate to pass the HEROES Act and for Congress to take actions to address structural racism. The HEROES Act is grounded in America’s Five Economic Essentials that are desperately needed to keep working people safe and financially secure. This day of action was just the beginning. Today and every day that follows, working people will mobilize like never before to make the HEROES Act the law of the land and rid our institutions of systemic racism.

Support for the labor movement is the highest in nearly half a century, yet only one in 10 workers are members of unions today. How can both be true?

This month’s historic Supreme Court ruling that LGBTQ employees are protected in the workplace by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was another step forward in the march for equality. While there is much to celebrate, this ruling comes as our nation is suffering from centuries-old systemic racism and grieving its latest victims. George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were killed by police officers. Twenty-five-year-old Ahmaud Arbery was gunned down on a run by two white men. We need to say their names, know their stories, and recognize why they were deprived of a full life.

America is suffering under the crushing weight of three crises, which are a public health pandemic, an economic free fall, and structural racism. They are knotted together in that untangling one depends on how we untangle the others. For instance, structural racism is deeply ingrained in the share of black workers unemployed and dying from the coronavirus. Today, thousands of working people across the country will join together in a national day of action called the Workers First Caravan for Racial and Economic Justice.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has demanded an investigation from Facebook and a public apology from founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg after an online presentation touted the ability of employers to block the word "unionize" on the company's Workplace platform. "Blacklisting is illegal. Employers censoring their employees' speech about unionizing is illegal," Trumka, the leader of the largest federation of labor unions in the U.S., tweeted on Friday.

The ruling came as demonstrations continued Thursday in both Matamoros and Mexico City demanding the release of Susan Prieto, who faces charges that include inciting riot, threats and coercion. Her case has drawn attention beyond Mexico, including a call for her release issued Wednesday by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on Wednesday. “Susana Prieto is a fierce advocate whose tireless advocacy on behalf of workers in Mexico’s maquiladoras has made her a thorn in the side of powerful companies and corrupt officials,” Trumka wrote.

In early January, before most people in the U.S. had even heard of Covid-19, Bonnie Castillo called a meeting with two trusted health care deputies at the country’s largest union of registered nurses. Castillo was alarmed by news reports about how a virus — so mysterious it didn’t yet have a name — was ravaging Wuhan, China, and asked the union’s director of health and safety and its industrial hygienist to go through some scientific reports. As she listened, Castillo, the executive director of National Nurses United and a former intensive care nurse, grew worried.

As an African American man who lived through the 1960s and now has two sons and three very young grandsons, the specter of systemic racism keeps me up at night. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called my sons during the past week — just to know where they are, to hear their voices, to make sure they are safe. Unless things change, my sons will have the same conversations with my grandsons when they are older. There should be no controversy in declaring that the lives of my sons and grandsons matter. Black lives matter.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka discusses the George Floyd protests, police unions and unemployment on "Bloomberg: Balance of Power."

NPR's David Greene talks to NPR's Scott Horsley and William Spriggs, chief economist for the AFL-CIO, about the pandemic's effect on joblessness — especially on minority employees. SPRIGGS: Well, in this case, it's, for the Hispanic community, the industries in which they dominate. So they're very important to the restaurant industry. That industry lost the most amount of jobs. Before this downturn, we had 12.6 million Americans who worked in restaurants.