Workers of the World will unite Friday on that famous communist holiday, May Day, to stop grocery deliveries. May Day is the well-known day when masked, black-clad communistas string up The Man on a May Pole, while chanting “Hey Hey, Ho Ho, the Bourgeoisie Have Got to Go!” The event culminates in workers setting fire to the pole and The Man, thus destroying their own jobs.
The Intercept reports that there will be thousands of “workers” at Amazon, Instacart, Whole Foods, Target, and Fed-Ex walking off the job starting at their lunch breaks (inner voice asks, “what’s a lunch break?”) or call-in “sick” to strike a blow against The Man, maaaan.
The employees will call out sick or walk off the job during their lunch break, according to a press release set to be published by organizers on Wednesday. In some locations, rank-and-file union members will join workers outside their warehouses and storefronts to support the demonstrations.
“We are acting in conjunction with workers at Amazon, Target, Instacart and other companies for International Worker’s Day to show solidarity with other essential workers in our struggle for better protections and benefits in the pandemic,” said Daniel Steinbrook, a Whole Foods employee and strike organizer.
“All of these workers are coming together and building power,” said Vanessa Bain, an Instacart worker and co-founder of the Gig Workers Collective, which counts more than 17,000 members and advocates for gig workers’ rights. “May Day is not just a one-time symbolic action, but also about building real, vast, and broad sweeping networks of power.”
The employees’ beef is that they want to be given the respect of “essential workers” while walking off the job, not making deliveries, and leaving customers high and dry.
Nothing says “professional” like a walkout depriving shut-ins of their groceries during a pandemic.
Unions organizing this national walkout during a pandemic see an upside, hoping the move endears the employees to them. After all, to make an omelet you’ve got to not deliver a few eggs, or something like that.
As Stephen Brier, a labor historian and professor at the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, told The Intercept, the employees are using their “leverage.”
“These workers have been exploited so shamelessly for so long by these companies while performing incredibly important but largely invisible labor. All of a sudden, they’re deemed essential workers in a pandemic, giving them tremendous leverage and power if they organize collectively.”
Employees hired to do warehouse and delivery work have been given raises, signing bonuses, and other enticements to come to work at Walmart, Amazon, and a variety of grocery delivery services.
The window for such actions as the May Day grocery delivery strike is closing rapidly as America’s states begin flattening out the coronavirus curve and as people go back to work and to their own grocery shopping.
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