Sometimes the only way to make your point is to stick together as one. There is safety in numbers and voices united can deliver a stronger message. That’s what one group of non-union workers learned this week when they decided to band together and take matters into their own hands by shutting down a new UPS hub in Indianapolis.
Antoine Dangerfield, who shot the now viral video of workers walking out, said in an interview with Jacobin that it started with the firing of a few Latino employees by a boss the workers believe is racist. In a show of solidarity and protest, the other workers shut down the site and walked off the job. Dangerfield, a welder working for a separate sub-contractor, recorded the walk-out as it happened.
Dangerfield explained in the interview what led to the walk-out:
There was a safety guy. He was just a racist, basically — always messing with anybody who’s not white. The Hispanics just stayed out of his way. They warned each other when he came because they knew he was always messing with them, taking pictures and videos, trying to get them fired.
We have safety meetings, and we usually have a translator [for Spanish speakers] because there are so many. On Tuesday, we had a safety meeting, and like I said, the Mexicans don’t really like [the safety coordinator].
He asked one of the Mexicans to come up and translate. He didn’t wanna do it. [The coordinator] got mad, real red-faced. Next thing you know, he dismissed the meeting. So he’s walking around just sending them home, trying to fire them. So he sent like five or six of them home.
So the Hispanics got together and were like, ‘Nah. We got families and kids. We’re not about to let these dudes just do whatever.’ So they took a stand.
As the walkout continued, Dangerfield grew excited and used some colorful language to describe the happenings. You may want to watch with the sound off.
When asked how he felt watching the workers take a stand, Dangerfield said:
I just felt that power, man. It just felt good. They were walking out with their heads up, strong. It touched me. That’s why I was like, wow, this is beautiful. It was beautiful that they came together like that — stood up for themselves and not let that dude walk all over them.
Dangerfield posted the video and it immediately started going viral. The company he works for offered him $200 to take it down and when he wouldn’t comply, he was fired.
A GoFundMe account has been started for Dangerfield. He says that it was worth getting fired if it motivated workers to take a stand when they feel they are being wronged.
People are uniting on social media and sharing the clip.
— Niklaus Mikaelson Burner Account (@MustBeCharm) August 2, 2018
The commentary with this video is provided by a #blackworker in #Indianapolis registering his surprise and elation as his fellow workers walk out and he discovers the power that lies in the hands of his class.
— John Clarke (@JohnOCAP) August 6, 2018
This plant fired 2 Mexicans so the rest of the Mexicans walked out with them. If they did this on a national level, they would shut the whole country down!
— Indivisible Network (@IndivisibleNet) August 3, 2018
And many people are inspired to organize.
We really do need to start thinking about organizing like this and shutting the economy down. They’ll start listening then.
— Palooke (@Palooke76) August 3, 2018
Election day. So that everybody not miss the opportunity to vote.
— Space Force Ninja (@dvlndsgyz) August 3, 2018
Holy Crap !!!!
— Cat (@catfromcali1) August 3, 2018
— Accountist (@LisaM3732) August 3, 2018
I've been saying this for months that every single person needs to stop… Stop going to work stop going to school and get out in the streets everyday until he's out of office
— Scream the Truth (@raba_mary) August 3, 2018
Wish we would!
— OneBrokeMom (@OneBrokeMom2) August 3, 2018
Number one reason why I belong to a union.
— Dana (@nurse2k1) August 3, 2018
They have more power than they know. A national strike day would wake people up to all the work immigrants and new citizens do.
— murray b (@murrayb560sl) August 3, 2018
Corporations might want to start paying attention. The numbers are on the side of the working class.