Rep. Franks and Workers Demand that Management Recognize the Rights–and Value–of African-American Workforce
FERGUSON, MO — As the Christian Care Home strike entered its sixth day, workers on the picket line were joined Thursday night by State Representative Bruce Franks, a vocal leader of Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of the fatal police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, for a press conference connecting the two struggles.
Rep. Franks, faith leaders and striking workers who took an active role in the police brutality and accountability protests in Ferguson and St. Louis, demanded that the rights of the largely African-American workforce of Christian Care Home be respected by the nursing facility’s ownership.
Many of the striking workers took place in the protests in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death at the hands of police officer Darren Wilson. Last night, they participated with Rep. Franks in a speakout connecting racist policing and unfair treatment on the job — and revealing how both result in black and brown people being treated as second-class citizens.
The speakout was broadcast via Facebook Live–and a recording of the event can be watched here:
During the speakout, striking worker Brenda Davis talked about the spirit of empowerment she felt while protesting the shooting death of Michael Brown, “I feel that same spirit resting on this…strike. We demand to be respected. We demand our dignity…We demand to have a fair contract.”
State Representative Bruce Franks made it clear that workers protesting unfair treatment on the job and protestors hitting the streets for police accountability were resolved in their connected fights. “It’s not about asking,” he said. “It’s not about pleading, it’s about demanding that folks will be treated right, workers will be treated with respect and they will get the contracts that they need and that’s just how it has to go.”
He also spoke to the connection between the fights: “At the end of the day, it’s about combining the fights…from fighting against police brutality, fighting for police accountability, what’s going on in the City of St. Louis and Ferguson and other spots as well as how workers are being treated and standing for our unions, especially our unions that are diverse and our unions that are truly with the people and with the workers.”
And to his commitment to support the strike: “This is where you’ll find me…out on the streets with the people.”