In recent weeks, Bay Area service workers in a variety of enterprises have stepped up their solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement with a series of creative actions. In December, workers at Arbor Café in North Oakland (which was heavily vandalized during the second night of Ferguson solidarity protests) pledged to donate all of their tips over the busy weekend to the Anti-Repression Crew bail fund. In the end, the workers were able to raise nearly $600. Inspired by this example, Pedicab Operators in downtown San Francisco got together on New Years Eve and pledged one hours worth of fares to the same fund. Roughly 20 operators expressed support with the effort, and were able to gather several hundred dollars as well. That same night, some employees with an SF catering company were able to collect $75 worth of tips to give to the movement. Now, several workers at the Saturday Grand Lake Farmers Market have announced a solidarity action in conjunction with the weekend of actions leading up to Martin Luther King Day. Many market vendors will display “Black Lives Matter” signs during the busy market (which runs from 9am-2pm) as well as collect donations for the bail fund.
This emerging tactic of centering our experience as workers as we struggle in solidarity with the communities on the frontlines of the fight against police terror shows promise. Too often, movements of the community are pitted against movements of workers, and vice versa. But when we act together, we show the world that our interests (and our enemies) are the same. We hope that this tactic of worker solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement continues to develop and spread.