Takeaway: Today’s “Strike for Black Lives,” organized by unions, the Movement for Black Lives, and other social justice organizations, offers our union an opportunity to join with others to highlight the dangers of structural racism and to demonstrate our commitment to social change. We urge you to participate in whatever way you can—see the list below.
Today, Rutgers AAUP AFT is joining together with unions across the country to support “Strike for Black Lives,” a national day of strikes, walkouts, and worker actions. The American Federation of Teachers, Service Employees International Union, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, United Farm Workers, National Domestic Workers Alliance, and many other organizations have come together with the Movement for Black Lives to highlight the dangers of structural racism and the ongoing lack of personal protective equipment.
Tens of thousands of workers in transportation, food service, health care, and other sectors will participate in a daylong strike in over two dozen cities across the United States. For those who cannot, some will take a knee, while others will walk out and observe eight minutes and forty-six seconds of silence in memory of the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other victims of state violence.
The organizers are demanding that corporations and the government take steps to dismantle systemic racism in the economy, where Black and Latinx workers compose a disproportionate percentage of those denied a living wage, benefits, and other worker protections. These forms of economic inequality converge with police killings and mass incarceration to create disparate life outcomes.
“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, which represents over two million workers in the U.S. and Canada. The organizers also stress the urgent 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.
There are multiple ways that you can participate:
1. One of the most powerful ways to join workers on July 20 is to take part in our noontime walkouts for eight minutes and forty-six seconds.
2. Please check out the digital toolkit for content you can share through social media.
3. Worker videos and content we can lift up after July 20 can be submitted here—this is one of the best ways to make sure that workers’ voices show up! Strike for Black Lives will do the polishing and push them out.
4. Add your name in support of Strike for Black Lives.
Read the Rutgers AAUP-AFT People of Color caucus statement here: “Call to Action: Justice for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor”
As Rutgers workers face ongoing PPE shortages, a failure to establish regular COVID testing, denial of hazard pay for some of its most at-risk workers, and job losses on our three campuses, the “Strike For Black Lives” speaks directly to our day-to-day struggles.
Todd, Becky, and Donna
Todd Wolfson, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Rebecca Givan, Vice President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Donna Murch, Executive Council member and People of Color Caucus Chair, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Rutgers AAUP-AFT Facebook page: https://facebook.com/RUaaup/
Follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @ruaaup
Find the latest messages to members and union statements here.
Read how Rutgers AAUP-AFT is confronting the crisis here.