Declare Solidarity with the 2018 U.S. Prison Strike
Yesterday, prisoners across the United States launched a nation-wide strike demanding an end to prison slavery, poor living conditions, and death by incarceration. The strike began on the death anniversary of George Jackson, a former Black Panther and a leading voice of the 1970s prison movement, and is expected to last for 19 days, ending on the anniversary of the Attica prison uprising.
The strike was called in response to the death of seven incarcerated individuals and a prison-wide lockdown resulting from inhumane living conditions at Lee Correctional Institution in South Carolina in April.
In a statement made by members of the organizing group Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, ten demands were listed, including a call to end compulsory labor for meager wages, a widespread practice in the U.S. prison system that strike organizers call a modern form of slavery. The call demands “An immediate end to prison slavery. All persons imprisoned in any place of detention under United States jurisdiction must be paid the prevailing wage in their state or territory for their labor.”
Over 30,000 incarcerated people work in farming or food-related positions, many making less than a dollar a day, often under difficult labor conditions. In some cases, these incarcerated workers are producing or preparing food for consumption in their prison facility, and in others, they are harvesting produce or manufacturing value-added products for profit-driven corporations. These practices are rampant across the prison system, in public and private prisons, including immigrant detention centers, and is a legacy of the U.S. slave economy.
NEWS FROM THE FRONTLINES
Yesterday, prisoners across the United States launched a nation-wide strike demanding an end to prison slavery, poor living conditions, and death by incarceration. The strike began on the death…
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Being part of this Alliance has been awesome. We're gonna be noticed. When you bring so many people together for one cause, that's when we make a change.Ruth Faircloth, Rural and Migrant Ministry
It's gonna take all of us. We really need to start talking amongst each other and getting more organized. Being part of the Food Chain Workers Alliacne is really big for my organization so we can amplify our stories and hopefully bring about change faster.Dominic Ware, OUR Walmart (Organization United for Respect at Walmart)
I was treated differently after i started organizing to form a union. But it's worth it to fight for equal rights, a better wage and a better future.Velia Perez, Teamsters Joint Council 7
I think the food movement needs to be much, much broader and the FCWA has made that intersectionality much more visible.Jen Mendoza, Cincinnati Interfaith Workers Center
To know that other organizations are dealing with with the same issues - if we were all able to come together and work as one, I believe that it will change a lot of things.Tammy Parkes, Rural and Migrant Ministry
VOICES OF THE FOOD CHAIN
Voices of the Food Chain is a project of the Food Chain Workers Alliance and Real Food Media to capture and share stories of the country’s 20 million food workers in their own words. Including voices of farmworkers, warehouse workers, meatpackers, line cooks, restaurant servers and more, the project features conversations recorded with StoryCorps, black and white portraits, and a video on the current challenges and victories at the intersection of labor and food. Voices of the Food Chain is part of a growing national movement to bring justice to all workers along the food chain.