Story at a glance

  • At least 60 different labor unions and social justice groups took part in the strike.
  • “Working people from across the nation and allies in the interconnected fights for justice are standing together to Strike for Black Lives,” organizers of the strike said on their website.
  • The Washington Post reports demonstrations took place in about 200 cities.

Thousands of workers from a diverse body of industries across the U.S. walked off the job Monday as part of the “Strike for Black Lives,” demanding racial and economic justice and shining a light on income inequality and systemic racism, according to The Washington Post. 

At least 60 different labor unions, including members of the Service Employees International Union, International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the American Federation of Teachers, as well as racial and social justice organizations, took part in the strike that spanned  from New York to San Francisco. 


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Organizers listed several demands on their website including “an unequivocal declaration that Black Lives Matter,” from business leaders, a call to elected officials and candidates at every level to use their power to “rewrite the rules and reimagine our economy and democracy so that Black communities can thrive” and for corporations to “take immediate action to dismantle racism, white supremacy, and economic exploitation wherever it exists, including in our workplaces.” Organizers also demanded every worker be allowed to form a union no matter where they work. 


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In New York City, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) joined essential workers like doormen, cleaners, food service workers and nurses outside Trump Tower and called for the passage of the HEROES Act. The Democratic-led House of Representatives proposed and passed the legislation in May to provide an additional stimulus payment to Americans in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The measure has stalled in the Republican-majority Senate. On Capitol Hill, strikers who walked off the job also rallied in support of the Heroes Act amid talks over a fourth coronavirus relief package. 

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D-Mass.) and State Rep. Liz Miranda (D) spoke to workers participating in the strike outside the Massachusetts State House in Boston, according to NPR

The Washington Post reports workers at nursing homes in Los Angeles walked out during multiple shifts, while janitors walked off the job in San Francisco. 

Nearly 6,000 nurses from 85 nursing homes in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut demonstrated outside their workplaces. 

Many demonstrations took place outside of McDonald’s restaurants locations across the country, where employees in St. Louis, Chicago and elsewhere called for higher wages and safer working conditions amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Companies like 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,” Angely Rodriguez Lambert, an Oakland, Calif., McDonald’s worker and leader in the Fight for $15, said in a statement. 

“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,” she said. 

McDonald’s issued a statement expressing its support for racial equality and social justice, saying the fast food chain has awarded raises and bonuses to many workers. 

The Post reports demonstrations took place in about 200 cities.


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Published on Jul 21, 2020