Thousands Join Nationwide Strike for Black Lives to Support Essential Workers

Jennifer M. Mason/Shutterstock

On Monday, July 20, tens of thousands of workers left their places of employment to demand racial and economic justice. 

In solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, employees in over 200 cities went on strike to highlight the pervasive economic inequalities faced by low-income workers of color. According to NPRover 60 labor unions and social justice organizations worked together to coordinate the strike. Workers’ unions like the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the American Federation of Teachers joined forced with the movement for Black Lives and the U.S. Youth Climate Strike Coalition to stage the walk-out. 

According to Vox, fast food and retail workers, airport employees, janitors, and nursing home caregivers were just a few of the professions represented in the strike. Workers who could not strike for a whole day participated in an eight-minute moment of silence in honor of George Floyd. Many prominent political leaders also supported the strike with posts on social media.

The strike leaders list four demands on their website, calling for businesses and political leaders to dismantle systemic racism and demanding that all workers be granted the right to unionize. The site also encourages workers to register to vote. 

Jennifer M. Mason/Shutterstock

The message of the Strike for Black Lives is especially potent during the COVID-19 pandemic, with many low-income people of color risking exposure every day to continue their essential work. In response to the unique economic and health impacts of COVID-19, the strike organizers included health and safety protections for essential workers as part of their second demand. 

To keep supporting the movement, visit these organization’s websites for more information.