Strike for Black Lives

As expected there was little reporting in the mainstream media about the Strike for Black Lives that occurred in cities across the country yesterday. Thus it is hard to know how many people were involved or news about reactions to the strikes.

One of the goals of the strikes was to unite the fights for racial and economic justice.

“I think it’s a historic moment, a new level of intersection between our fights,” Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union said. “The labor movement is owning that until Black communities can thrive, none of us can thrive.”

At a strike in New York, the legacy of late Congressman John Lewis was invoked: “If you see something that’s not fair, not right, not just, we have a moral obligation to do something about it.”

From Boston to San Francisco, essential workers in cities around the U.S. walked off their jobs and took to the streets Monday to demand racial and economic justice as part of a nationwide “Strike for Black Lives.”

The planned day of strikes and protests was organized by 60 different labor unions and racial and social justice organizations, from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to the Movement for Black Lives to the U.S. Youth Climate Strike Coalition.

Organizers listed four primary demands on their website: “Justice for Black communities, that elected officials use their authority to rewrite the rules so that Black people can thrive, that corporations dismantle racism, white supremacy and economic exploitation including at work and that every worker has the opportunity to join a union.”

Essential Workers Hold Walkouts And Protests In National ‘Strike For Black Lives’ by RACHEL TREISMAN, NPR, July 20, 20207


In New York, Antoine Andrews, a UPS driver in Long Island City and member of Teamsters Local 804, helped lead more than 100 employees in a demonstration in front of their workplace early Monday. Andrews and co-workers did not strike, but wanted to express solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and send a message to their employer to take issues of inequality seriously.

Andrews, who has worked for UPS for 23 years, invoked the legacy of late Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), the civil rights leader who marched at Selma, Ala., and spoke at the famous 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, in his remarks to co-workers.

“If you see something that’s not fair, not right, not just, we have a moral obligation to do something about it,” Andrews said. “I mentioned to the crowd that this is my purpose for being here and that should be our purpose for being here.”

“I left them with the question: What do you choose to do? Do you choose to stand or sit? Do you choose to be silent and complicit, or do you speak out and demand to be heard?” he added. “Let people know where you stand against systemic racism. We have to do this not just for ourselves, but for our children and for children unborn. This is our fight for them.”

Thousands of U.S. workers walk out in ‘Strike for Black Lives’. Organizers say economic inequality and systemic racism have only worsened since the pandemic by Jacob Bogage, The Washington Post, July 20, 2020


Fast-food and service industry workers in Chicago marched downtown Monday as part of a nationwide walkout to demand businesses take action to fight income inequality and better protect Black and Latino employees.

The “Strike for Black Lives” aimed to highlight the disparities employees of color face while working during the coronavirus pandemic. In Chicago, nearly 400 people participated, including a car caravan that honked in support of marchers in the city’s Loop, according to organizers with Fight for $15, a union-backed movement to organize fast-food workers.

Chicago fast-food workers join ‘Strike for Black Lives’ with march downtown by ABDEL JIMENEZ, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 7/20/2020


In Washington, strikers gathered on Capitol Hill in support of the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, or Heroes Act, as talks intensify over a fourth coronavirus relief package. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) joined demonstrators in New York outside Trump Tower. Health workers at a nursing home outside of Los Angeles planned walkouts during multiple shifts, while other workers took part in a car caravan down President Barack Obama Boulevard, a major thoroughfare on the city’s west side.

Organizers encouraged people unable to leave their jobs to take a knee or break away for 8 minutes and 46 seconds — the amount of time a Minneapolis police officer knelt on the neck of George Floyd, whose death sparked a wave of protests and national reckoning on racial justice.

Organizers did not have exact figures on how many people walked off the job, but said around 1,500 janitors in San Francisco struck together. Close to 6,000 nurses from 85 nursing homes in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut picketed outside their workplaces. Overall, demonstrations took place in 200 cities.

Thousands of U.S. workers walk out in ‘Strike for Black Lives’. Organizers say economic inequality and systemic racism have only worsened since the pandemic by Jacob Bogage, The Washington Post, July 20, 2020


This entry was posted in Black Lives, race, Strike, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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