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‘Strike for Black Lives’ to highlight racism

PTI New York | Updated on July 09, 2020 Published on July 09, 2020

A sign painted by protesters stating "Defund the Police" is painted next to a Black Lives Matter sign as people demonstrate against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, near the White House in Washington, U.S., June 7, 2020.   -  REUTERS

A national coalition of labour unions, along with racial and social justice organisations, will stage a mass walkout from work this month, as part of an ongoing reckoning on systemic racism and police brutality in the U.S.

Dubbed 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 on July 20 for about eight minutes — the amount of time prosecutors say a white Minneapolis police officer held his knee on the neck of George Floyd in May — in remembrance of Black men and women who died recently at the hands of police.

The national strike will also include a handful of worker-led marches through participating cities, organizers said Wednesday.

Organizers 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.

They also stress on the need for guaranteed sick pay, affordable health care coverage and better safety measures for low-wage workers who never had the option of working from home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Among the strikers’ specific demands are that corporations and government declare unequivocally that Black lives matter.

Elected officials at every level must use executive and legislative power to pass laws that guarantee people of all races can thrive, according to a list of demands. Employers must also raise wages and allow workers to unionize to negotiate better health care, sick leave and child care support.

The service workers union has partnered with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the American Federation of Teachers, United Farm Workers and the Fight for $15 and a Union, which was launched in 2012 by American fast food workers to push for a higher minimum wage.

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Published on July 09, 2020
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