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‘Demanding An End’ To Systemic Racism ‘And The Immediate Passage’ Of The HEROES Act, New York City Unions Challenge A ‘Three-Pronged Crisis In Donald Trump’s America’ That’s ‘Gripping’ Workers

Published Wednesday, July 22, 2020
by Joe Maniscalco/LaborPress
‘Demanding An End’ To Systemic Racism ‘And The Immediate Passage’ Of The HEROES Act, New York City Unions Challenge A ‘Three-Pronged Crisis In Donald Trump’s America’ That’s ‘Gripping’ Workers

(NEW YORK CITY) – Angry Trade Unionists on the front lines of the on-going Coronavirus Pandemic stood up earlier this week against the “three-pronged crisis” gripping Workers in Donald Trump’s America, demanding an end to systemic racism and the immediate passage of the HEROES (Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions) Act in the U.S. Senate.

“Working People ‘are suffering under a three-pronged crisis here in America: Systemic racism, unchecked police brutality, and a public health emergency ravaging Communities of Color,’” 32BJ Service Employees International Union (SEIU) President Kyle Bragg told Essential Workers assembled at the foot of Donald Trump’s garish hotel tower at West 61st Street.

“We’re ‘here to demand - including the man who’s name adorns the building behind us - that (Senators) ensure the health, safety and economic well-being of every Worker - and that they work to dismantle white supremacy and the end to police brutality,’” Bragg said.

The rally consisting of members from Construction and General Building Laborers Local 79, New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA), DC37 American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Public Employees Federation (PEF), Teamsters Joint Council 16 - as well as 32BJ SEIU, was part of the nationwide #StrikeForBlackLives walkout taking place in more than 25 cities and in support of the overall Black Lives Matter Movement. 

“The ‘disparities in health care did not change under COVID,’” NYSNA President Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez said. “It ‘illustrated how ridiculous it is - how horrible it is - and what an obscenity it is.’  ‘This is an obscenity - behind me, that is an obscenity.’  ‘A building like that, that stands like that with the money in there, while we have people that are homeless - who face eviction for not being able to pay their rent - who face foreclosures because they can’t make their mortgages - that is the obscenity.’”

Eva Conyers helps provides security at a shelter down on Grand Street in Lower Manhattan.

Several years ago, she says she fell prey to gentrification and slid into homelessness despite a holding a job with New York City Transit at the time. 

Now, she works paycheck-to-paycheck worrying if she will contract COVID-19 on the job and bring it home to her family

“It’s ‘very sad because we shouldn’t even be in this situation,’” the 32BJ Member told LaborPress. “We’re ‘all’ people, we’re ‘all’ human beings, ‘we all deserve to live.’  ‘Why do we still have this problem?’”

Members of two different families staying at the Holiday Inn Express where Charmaine Lathan works the overnight shift as a Security Guard, became sick with COVID-19 during the pandemic.

“We ‘had a crate in front of the door where we would leave bags (of food), knock on the door and go away,’” she says. 

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