The Reparations Labor Union, formally known as the International Union of Heirs of Transatlantic African Laborers, was founded by three black Jews in 2013. The Reparations Labor Union was inspired by the Detroit mayoral campaign of Wayne County (Michigan) Sheriff Benny Napoleon. Napoleon, a former City of Detroit police officer and chief, was endorsed by most of the labor unions in Detroit.
One of the important issues during the mayoral campaign was that the historic bankruptcy of the City of Detroit was causing municipal workers to lose part of their constitutionally-protected retirement pensions. Municipal employees, like firefighters and police officers, were not eligible for Social Security, so cuts in their retirement benefits and health care served as a slap in the face to those who endangered or sacrificed their lives protecting the public's safety. In other words, municipal union workers were being treated like modern-day slaves. Thus, the Reparations Labor Union was born out of solidarity and empathy for Detroit's unionized municipal employees and retirees.