A coalition of labor unions and social justice organizations is organizing a mass walkout from work July 20, as part of the ongoing response to systemic racism and police brutality in the U.S., according to the Associated Press.
Called the “Strike for Black Lives,” and organized at least in part by the Service Employees International Union, which represents more than 2 million workers in the U.S. and Canada, the short-term work stoppage would be the largest official act by organized labor since protesters took to the streets in May.
A website linked to SEIU’s long-running “Fight for $15” campaign, which seeks a living wage for workers who proved to be “essential” during the pandemic, calls July 20 “a day of reckoning,” and a “moment to transform our economy and democracy.”
Officials with SEIU could not immediately be reached for comment by Forbes Wednesday.
Among four demands laid out on the strike website is a call for the $15 an hour minimum wage and for elected officials and candidates to “begin to rewrite the rules and reimagine our economy and democracy so that Black communities can thrive.”
Fast food, ride-share, nursing home and airport workers in more than 25 cities are expected to walk off the job 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 on Memorial Day — in remembrance of Black men and women who have died at the hands of police, according to AP.
It was not immediately clear if this effort is linked to a similar “StrikeForBlackLives” that had been organized for June and saw a muted response.
“Until we dismantle racism and white supremacy, we cannot win economic, climate or immigration justice.”
In the aftermath of Floyd’s televised death, protesters have pushed for change throughout corporate and legislative America, calling for an end to the kind of systemic racism that many say lead to Floyd’s death and left Blacks disproportionately sickened and killed by Covid-19. Tuesday the Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of 150 Black organizations, released a legislative reform bill called the BREATHE Act, which calls for sweeping changes to the country’s criminal and legal systems.