Strike for Black Lives: Thousands of US Workers to Paralyze Services in July 20 Walkout

The strikers want the government and corporations to declare unequivocally that 'Black lives matter.'

The United States will witness a mass job walkout by tens of thousands of service workers on July 20 called 'Strike for Black Lives'. The nationwide strike organized by a coalition of labor unions along with racial and social justice organizations is part of the ongoing peaceful demonstrations calling for the end of systematic racism and police brutality against the black.

The strike will also see a series of worker-led marches through participating cities. The United States has been rocked with protests over the past month calling for the end of police brutality and racism following the deaths of African-Americans like George Floyd, Rayshard Brook and Breonna Taylor.

Strike for Survival

US Protests
Demonstrators hold a giant sign at the Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House during the June 2020 protests Twitter/Reuters Pictures

'Strike for Black Lives' will see tens of thousands of fast-food, ride hailing, nursing home and airport workers walking off their jobs for a full day in at least 25 major U.S. cities including Chicago, Los Angeles, St. Paul and Milwaukee. Those who won't be able to participate for the full day will walk out for about eight minutes in the morning.

The eight-minute stoppage in work and a walkout has especially been decided upon because that was the duration of time prosecutors say a white police officer in Minneapolis pressed his knee on George Floyd that choked him to death on May 25. The nationwide strike is partly being organized by Service Employees International Union, which represents over 2 million workers in the United States and Canada.

A Larger Cause

UK Protests
UK Black Lives Matter Protests in Us Twitter

Over the past month, the United States has seen demonstrators taking to the street to protest against racism and end of police brutality following the death of Floyd, an African-American, on Memorial Day. This was followed by wide-scale police reforms including a ban on chokeholds and neck restraints.

However, the planned July 20 strike is for a larger cause and is not directly related to the similar 'StrikeForBlackLives' protests organized over the past month. "We have to link these fights in a new and deeper way than ever before," said Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union.

This time, the organizers are reportedly demanding sweeping actions across the country by the government and corporations to confront systematic racism in the economy that poses as a barrier to economic mobility and career opportunities for millions of Black and Hispanic workers. The strikers want the government and corporations to declare unequivocally that "Black lives matter."

The Service Employees International Union has also partnered with other worker unions like the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, American Federation of Teachers, United Farm Workers and the Fight for $15 and a Union. Fight for $15 is another movement that was launched in 2012 by American fast food workers to push for a higher minimum wage and this time too they will be placing their demands through the nationwide strike.