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Know Your Rights
Source: The Nation
Subject: Workplace Justice
Type: Media Coverage

How NY’s Excluded Worker Fund Inspired Activists Across the US

In addition to the steering members, local groups held coalition meetings and developed direct actions in localities outside of New York City. “From the beginning we knew it was going to be a state-level demand so it was a statewide coalition,” Solís told me.

Every region conserved their autonomy and carried out actions that best fit their communities. “I adapted our tactics for each region based on the feedback and the expertise of the local organizations,” Guerrero said. This structure allowed the coalition to highlight workers in the Mid-Hudson valley, Syracuse, Rochester, and Long Island.

On the week of March 5, the coalition escalated their efforts and blocked the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges as well as the Albany Concourse. Solís pointed out that they were the same bridges they take on their way to clean, cook, and care for others. The action took weeks to organize. Many of the coalition members are undocumented, and so activists created a safety team for that included taxi workers, ICE Watch, Copwatch, and community members. “We keep each other safe,” Solís told me. “We planned a powerful militant action where we did not have to rely on the state.”

The hundreds of workers who took over the bridges marched in their uniforms. They showed up with hammers, strollers, laundry boards, server outfits, and pots and pans. They carried a 20-meter-long banner in the highway. For nearly an hour on the bridges, they held moments of silences, prayers, and ceremonies. Solís said she heard one immigrant worker say, “I’ve crossed borders, I’ve crossed mountains, I’ve crossed deserts, and today we’re crossing bridges so that we are seen again.”