Workers strike to protest Trump: 'There is power in our unity'

“We are striking today for our families, communities and the country,” said Angela Bello, a food service worker with nine years on the job at Northeastern University. “There is power in our unity and we are here to stay.” (UNITE HERE Local 26/ Facebook)

Workers across the country walked off their jobs and staged actions on January 20 to protest the inauguration of one of the most anti-worker presidents in modern history, Donald Trump.

As he was being sworn in around midday, dining hall workers at Northeastern University walked out. The one-day strike was planned with support from students, some of whom walked with workers in a sign of solidarity.

“Having the support of the students allowed the workers to feel protected and supported,” said Tiffany Ten Eyck, an organiser for UNITE HERE Local 26, which represents workers at Northeastern.

“We showed that we are committed to making sure that immigrant families can stay together.”

Workers in Minnesota and California shared similar messages.

The Saint Paul Federation of Teachers held a rally on January 19 at a high school that enrols immigrants and other students new to the city to — in the words of the union — “protect our students and our public schools”.

The rally called for Saint Paul and its public schools to declare themselves sanctuaries.

Elsewhere in Minneapolis–Saint Paul, janitors who clean Home Depot stores went on strike against their contractor on January 20.

The organisers said on Facebook that the strike was “against their cleaning contractor to protest their poverty wages and Donald Trump’s anti-worker agenda — the first strike against Donald Trump in the country since his election”.

They said: “The two founders of Home Depot have donated millions of dollars to Trump and one of Home Depot’s major investors supports Trump. Home Depot uses the Trump model of business for its janitorial services: using subcontractors that hire immigrant workers and sometimes face lawsuits for wage theft.”

In California, United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 2865, which represents graduate students across the University of California, teamed up with International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10 for a January 20 protest.

Many other unions also took part in the January 21 Women’s March, including members of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, the largest healthcare union in the country.

“We are striking today for our families, communities and the country,” said Angela Bello, a food service worker with nine years on the job at Northeastern University. “There is power in our unity and we are here to stay.”

[Abridged from In These Times.]

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