On Monday, thousands of workers across the United States plan to walk off the job to participate in the “Strike for Black Lives,” which will protest against “systemic racism and economic inequality.”
“Labor unions, along with social and racial justice organizations from New York City to Los Angeles, will participate in a range of planned actions,” reported Fox Business. “Where work stoppages are not possible for a full day, participants will either picket during a lunch break or observe moments of silence to honor Black lives lost to police violence. Among the strikers will be essential workers: nursing home employees, janitors and delivery men and women. Fast food, ride-share and airport workers are also expected to take part in planned events.”
Organizers of the protest said the demonstration will be a watershed moment for highlighting the dignity of black lives in all aspects of American life.
“We are … building a country where Black lives matter in every aspect of society — including in the workplace,” said Ash-Lee Henderson, an organizer with the Movement for Black Lives and co-executive director of the Tennessee-based Highlander Research and Education Center. “The Strike for Black Lives is a moment of reckoning for corporations that have long ignored the concerns of their Black workforce and denied them better working conditions, living wages and healthcare.”
At noon throughout the various time zones in the United States, workers will take a knee for eight minutes – the same amount of time that Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee George Floyd’s neck, killing him. Here’s a brief list of the demands provided from Fox Business:
- Government and corporate actions against systemic racism and economic inequality.
- Increased wages.
- Allow workers to unionize to negotiate better health care, sick leave and child support.
The two corporations singled out for the most scrutiny during the strike will be Walmart and McDonalds, which have been accused of racial bias against its workforce. As reported by Intelligencer, three black McDonalds workers in Lakeland, Florida, filed a lawsuit against the burger chain, alleging that their manager (a Hispanic woman) fostered a racially hostile work environment.
“The complaint depicts failures that are core to the McDonald’s business model,” wrote Intelligencer. “At the bottom rung of the ladder, the chain’s fry cooks and cashiers are at the mercy of their managers and franchisees. Their low wages keep them desperate for hours and raises; a natural incentive to organize, but also a potential obstacle for workers who need to report abuse. When Booker, Scott, and Moody spoke up anyway, they paid for it.”
McDonald’s tweeted in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in early June as protests mounted over George Floyd’s death.
“They were one of us: Trayvon Martin. Michael Brown. Alton Sterling. Botham Jean. Atatiana Jefferson. Ahmaud Arbery. George Floyd,” the corporation tweeted.
They were one of us:
Trayvon Martin. Michael Brown. Alton Sterling. Botham Jean. Atatiana Jefferson. Ahmaud Arbery. George Floyd. pic.twitter.com/s1UhP5vncv
— McDonald's (@McDonalds) June 3, 2020