Bulletin
Investor Alert

Associated Press Archives | Email alerts

July 8, 2020, 11:36 p.m. EDT

Tens of thousands plan to ‘Strike for Black Lives’ later this month

Walkouts, marches for social justice planned in more than 25 cities

new
Watchlist Relevance
LEARN MORE

Want to see how this story relates to your watchlist?

Just add items to create a watchlist now:

or Cancel Already have a watchlist? Log In

By Associated Press

1 2

“We’ve got the coronavirus going on, plus we’ve got this thing with racism going on,” Andrews said. “They’re tied together, like some type of segregation, like we didn’t have our ancestors and Martin Luther King fighting against these types of things. It’s still alive out here, and it’s time for somebody to be held accountable. It’s time to take action.”

The strike continues a decades-old labor rights movement tradition. Most notably, organizers have drawn inspiration from the Memphis sanitation workers’ strike over low wages, benefits disparity between Black and white employees, and inhumane working conditions that contributed to the deaths of two Black workers in 1968. At the end of that two-month strike, some 1,300 mostly Black sanitation workers bargained collectively for better wages.

“Strike for Black Lives” organizers say they want to disrupt a multi-generational cycle of poverty perpetuated by anti-union and other policies that make it difficult to bargain collectively for better wages and working conditions.

Systemic poverty affects 140 million people in the U.S, with 62 million people working for less than a living wage, according to the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, a strike partnering organization. An estimated 54% of Black workers and 63% of Hispanic workers fall into that category, compared to 37% of white workers and 40% of Asian American workers, the group said.

“The reason why, on July 20th, you’re going to see strikes and protests and the walk-offs and socially distanced sit-ins and voter registration outreach is because thousands and thousands of poor, low-wage workers of every race, creed and color understand that racial, economic, health care, immigration, climate and other justice fights are all connected,” the Rev. William Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, said in a telephone interview.

“If in fact we are going to take on police violence that kills, then certainly we have to take on economic violence that also kills,” he said.

Organizers said some striking workers will do more than walk off the job on July 20. In Missouri, participants will rally at a McDonald’s in Ferguson, a key landmark in the protest movement sparked by the death of Michael Brown, a Black teenager who was killed by police in 2014. The strikers will then march to a memorial site located on the spot where Brown was shot and killed.

In Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed on May 25, nursing home workers will participate in a caravan that will include a stop at the airport. They’ll be joined by wheelchair attendants and cabin cleaners demanding a $15-per-hour minimum wage, organizers said.

Angely Rodriguez Lambert, a 26-year-old McDonald’s worker in Oakland, California, and leader in the Fight for $15 and a Union, said she and several co-workers tested positive for COVID-19 after employees weren’t initially provided proper protective equipment. As an immigrant from Honduras, Lambert said she also understands the Black community’s urgent fight against police brutality.

“Our message is that we’re all human and we should be treated like humans — we’re demanding justice for Black and Latino lives,” she told the AP.

“We’re taking action because words are no longer bringing the results that we need,” she said. “Now is the moment to see changes.”

1 2
This Story has 0 Comments
Be the first to comment
More News In
General

Story Conversation

Commenting FAQs »
Link to MarketWatch's Slice.