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Jakarta Post

Thousands of US workers walk out in 'Strike for Black Lives'

  • News Desk

    Agence France-Presse

New York, United States   /   Tue, July 21, 2020   /   03:15 pm
Thousands of US workers walk out in 'Strike for Black Lives' Demonstrators gather to listen to speeches during a picket and rally event outside the office of King County Executive Dow Constantine as part of the nationwide Strike For Black Lives on July 20, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. Organized by racial justice groups in partnership with labor unions, the nationwide events included at least two rallies in the Seattle area. (Getty Images/AFP/David Ryder)

Thousands of US workers walked out of their jobs across the country Monday for a strike in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and other minority groups which suffer racism.

The "Strike for Black Lives" saw employees from a broad range of industries briefly walk off their jobs in a call to end "systemic racism."

US media reported that tens of thousands of people in more than 200 cities across the country participated in the strike.

Although organizers did not have exact figures on how many people took part, they said around 1,500 janitors demonstrated in San Francisco, and nearly 6,000 nurses from 85 different nursing homes in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut also went on strike, according to The Washington Post.

In New York, some 100 people marched outside the Trump International Hotel to demand the adoption of the HEROES Act, legislation that would provide financial aid to households struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.

The bill was passed in May by the Democrat-majority House of Representatives but has since been blocked by the Senate, which is controlled by Republicans.

Among the New Yorkers who demonstrated in sweltering heat were nurses, doormen and cleaners -- workers who were considered essential during the pandemic and turned up for their jobs even when it put them at risk of infection.

African Americans and Hispanics died in disproportionately high numbers in New York City's coronavirus epidemic, which killed more than 22,000 residents.

"We are the ones who have kept the economy going and have kept everybody safe and in NY specially have kept the numbers down. We should be respected and compensated for that," said 42-year-old doorman Jordan Weiss.

The Service Employees International Union said protests would take place in more than two dozen cities including Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago.