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USA: Racial justice groups & labour unions plan "Strike for Black Lives" to demand an end to systemic racism & economic inequality

On 20 July 2020, workers across the United States will strike in support of Black lives and dismantling racism and white supremacy to bring about fundamental changes in society, the economy and workplaces.

The Strike for Black Lives' demands are:

  • Justice for Black communities, with an unequivocal declaration that Black Lives Matter, is a necessary first step to winning justice for all workers
  • Elected officials and candidates at every level use their executive, legislative, and regulatory authority to begin to rewrite the rules and reimagine our economy and democracy so that Black communities can thrive
  • Corporations take immediate action to dismantle racism, white supremacy, and economic exploitation wherever it exists, including in our workplaces. This includes corporations raising wages, allowing workers to form unions, providing healthcare, sick leave and expanded healthcare coverage to people who are uninsured or have lost coverage as the result of losing their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, child care support and more, to disrupt the multigenerational cycle of poverty created by their anti-worker attacks.
  • Every worker has the opportunity to form a union, no matter where they work.
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Article
21 July 2020

Workers protest racial inequality on day of national strike

Author: Aaron Morrison, AP

Workers from the service industry, fast-food chains and the gig economy rallied with organized labor Monday to protest systemic racism and economic inequality, staging demonstrations across the U.S. and around the world seeking better treatment of Black Americans in the workplace... Organizers said at least 20,000 workers in 160 cities walked off the job... Visible support came largely in protests that drew people whose jobs in health care, transportation and construction do not allow them to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic.

... The Strike for Black Lives was organized or supported by more than 60 labor unions and social and racial justice organizations... In San Francisco, 1,500 janitors walked out and marched to City Hall. Fast-food cooks and cashiers in Los Angeles and nursing home workers in St. Paul, Minnesota, also went on strike, organizers said... Elsewhere in New York City and in New Jersey and Connecticut, organizers said 6,000 workers at 85 nursing homes picketed, walked off the job or took other actions to highlight how predominantly Black and Hispanic workers and the residents they serve are at risk without proper protective gear during the pandemic... Participants nationwide broadly demanded action by corporations and the government to confront racism and inequality that limit mobility and career advancement for many Black and Hispanic workers, who make up a disproportionate number of those earning less than a living wage.

... McDonald’s said it stands with Black communities worldwide. “We believe Black lives matter, and it is our responsibility to continue to listen and learn and push for a more equitable and inclusive society,” the Chicago-based company said in a statement.

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Article
12 July 2020

Workers demanding union rights plan to walk off the job in nationwide Strike for Black Lives

Author: Chauncey Alcorn, CNN Business

A coalition of Black advocacy groups and labor activists are organizing a nationwide strike to pressure corporations, such as McDonald'sAmazon, Uber and Lyft, to raise wages and allow their workers to form unions. Thousands of workers are expected to walk off the job in more than 25 cities on July 20 in a mass demonstration called the Strike for Black Lives, organizers say. The strike takes aim at various industries in which Black workers are disproportionately represented, including fast food, airports, gig workers, nursing and home health aides... The protest is being organized by the Movement for Black Lives — a coalition of black advocacy groups — and several labor rights organizations, including the Service Employee International Union and the fast-food industry labor advocacy group known as Fight for $15 and a Union.

... Richard Wallace, a Movement for Black Lives leader [said]... "You can't pay people minimum wage for a job, knowing it's not a living wage, knowing that [a plurality] of your workforce is black, and then come out and say, 'Black Lives Matter,'" he told CNN Business. "A collective bargaining agreement is the only ironclad way of ensuring those values that they're promoting in this moment are held onto in perpetuity until the contract is resolved."

... McDonald's... reaffirmed its support for Black Lives Matter in a statement to CNN Business, but declined to directly address to questions about its workers forming a union. "With one of the most diverse workforces in the world, we believe Black lives matter, and it is our responsibility to continue to listen and learn and push for a more inclusive society by being open, honest and candid," a McDonald's spokesperson said in an emailed statement. Uber... and Lyft... did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the Strike for Black Lives.

... Black Americans make up about 13% of the US population, but nearly 20% of workers in the nation's food preparation and serving sector... [M]ore than 37% of the country's nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides are Black.

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Article
10 July 2020

Hundreds of thousands will walk out of work to 'Strike for Black Lives'

Author: N. Jamiyla Chisholm, Colorlines

Thousands of workers in more than 25 cities will walk off their jobs for eight minutes and 46 seconds on July 20, 2020, to go on Strike for Black Lives... These workers from fast food, nursing home, rideshare, airport and other industries, will stop working to demand the government and corporations abolish systemic racism... The coalition of racial, social and climate activists will converge to confront the current trifecta that’s harming Black and Brown communities—white supremacy, the public health emergency and a broken economy.

... Rev. Dr. William Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign said... “We can’t talk about racial justice in this moment without addressing income inequality. We must push toward economic uplift for everybody—poor and low-income Black people, white people, Brown people, Indigenous people, and Asian people. In other words: everybody in, nobody out.”  

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Article
8 July 2020

‘Strike for Black Lives’ to highlight racism

Author: Aaron Morrison, AP

A national coalition of labor unions, along with racial and social justice organizations, will stage a mass walkout from work... the “Strike for Black Lives,” tens of thousands of fast food, ride-share, nursing home and airport workers in more than 25 cities are expected to walk off the job July 20 for a full day strike. Those who can’t strike for a full day will walk out for about eight minutes — the amount of time prosecutors say a white Minneapolis police officer held his knee on George Floyd’s neck — in remembrance of Black men and women who died recently at the hands of police... [O]rganizers are demanding sweeping action by corporations and government to confront systemic racism in an economy that chokes off economic mobility and career opportunities for many Black and Hispanic workers, who make up a disproportionate number of those earning less than a living wage.

... Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson, a strike organizer with the Movement for Black Lives, said corporate giants that have come out in support of the BLM movement amid nationwide protests over police brutality have also profited from racial injustice and inequity. “They claim to support Black lives, but their business model functions by exploiting Black labor — passing off pennies as ‘living wages’ and pretending to be shocked when COVID-19 sickens those Black people who make up their essential workers,” said Henderson, co-executive director of Tennessee-based Highlander Research and Education Center. “Corporate power is a threat to racial justice, and the only way to usher in a new economy is by tackling those forces that aren’t fully committed to dismantling racism,” 

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