Washington, July 21 (IANS) Tens of thousands of workers across the US staged a strike to protest against racial injustice meted out to African-Americans, according to the organizers.
Dubbed “Strike for Black Lives”, the nationwide general strike on Monday called on workers to take a knee for eight minutes and 46 seconds in every US time zone at noon, hold a moment of silence for eight minutes and 46 seconds at the time, or walk off their jobs for the same duration of time, reports Xinhua news agency.
This was the time span during which unarmed African-American man George Floyd was suppressed by a white police officer in Minneapolis who knelt on his neck until he lost consciousness and later died on May 25.
According to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) that organized the strike, the movement was joined by a coalition of over 20 labour unions and racial and social justice groups in more than 25 cities.
In addition to seeking justice for the African-American community “with an unequivocal declaration that Black Lives Matter”, the strike also demanded that officials and candidates use their executive, legislative and regulatory authority to rewrite rules ensuring that black people can thrive, that “corporations take immediate action to dismantle racism, white supremacy and economic exploitation wherever it exists, including in our workplaces”, and that every worker has the opportunity to form a union, the SEIU said on its website.
In a statement issued on July 8 announcing the strike, the SEIU said workers and activists will join “to demand corporations, government take action to confront triple threat of white supremacy, public health emergency, broken economy”.
“We cannot achieve economic justice without racial justice,” said Mary Kay Henry, president of SEIU.
“Today, in this national moment of reckoning, working people are demanding fundamental changes to America's broken system.”
The strike came at a time when the coronavirus pandemic is still raging in the country, infecting over 3.7 million people and claiming more than 140,000 lives.
A continuation of the anti-racism demonstrations that swept the nation after Floyd's death , the strike was planned amid a surge in violent incidents across the nation that tragically resulted in the deaths of a number of young children.