Strike for Black Lives: Thousands to walk off job to protest racism

Strike for Black Lives organizers expect tens of thousands of union workers to join social and racial justice advocates in more than 25 U.S. cities in walking off the job Monday in support of dismantling systemic racism.

Driving the news: The action builds on Black Lives Matter protests demanding change following the May death of George Floyd. Protesters plan to commemorate Black people killed by police by stopping work at noon for eight minutes, 46 seconds — the length of time prosecutors say former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck.

  • Per a statement from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), one of 44 groups organizing the protest, they’re demanding corporations and governments “take action to confront triple threat of white supremacy,” a public health emergency amid the coronavirus pandemic and a “broken economy.”
  • Fast-food, nursing home, rideshare and other workers will rally outside corporations including McDonald’s to highlight racial inequity. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Movement for Black Lives are also involved in the action.
  • Oakland McDonald’s worker Angely Rodriguez Lambert, a leader in the Fight for $15 group campaigning for a wage increase that’s also involved in the strike, said in a statement McDonald’s “cannot on the one hand tweet that ‘Black Lives Matter’ and on the other pay us poverty wages and fail to provide sick days and adequate PPE.

“We’re going on strike because McDonald’s and other fast-food companies have failed to protect us in a pandemic that has ravaged Black and brown communities across the country.”

— Rodriguez Lamber statement

What to expect: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is set to join New York City protesters in front of the Trump International Hotel in Manhattan “to demand the Senate and President Donald Trump pass and sign the HEROES Act,” Democrats’ $3 trillion coronavirus rescue package that the House passed in May, AP reports.

  • In Missouri, striking workers will gather at the McDonald’s in Ferguson before marching to the memorial for Michael Brown, who was killed by police in 2014.
  • In Detroit, fast-food workers plan to rally with nursing home workers “to call out the industry’s failure to protect its largely Black workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic and respect workers for the essential work they perform” per SEIU’s statement. 
  • In Minneapolis, nursing home workers will participate in a caravan that will include a stop at the airport, “where they’ll be joined in protest by airport workers including wheelchair attendants and cabin cleaners who are demanding $15/hr and a just and safe plan to bring people back into public and travel spaces,” the statement said.
  • In Los Angeles, fast-food and nursing home workers are set to join Uber and Lyft drivers and Postmates workers, janitorial, security and other workers in a “car caravan that begins at a McDonald’s, with stops at the LAUSD and the University of Southern California, where they will demand the nation’s second-largest school district and the University drop their use of the LAPD on campuses.”

Go deeper: Black Americans’ competing crises


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