While the nation continues to protest police brutality, working class solidarity has popped up in all forms. New York City, Minneapolis, and other transit workers’ unions are refusing to cooperate with police departments. Healthcare workers are coming out onto the street in droves, demanding unions and healthcare organizations take on the struggle against racist police violence. With pressure from rank and file members, many other unions have come out with statements of solidarity for Geroge Floyd and the protests at large. Many workers are putting pressure on their organizations to participate in the demonstrations.
But other, unorganized workers are also showing solidarity for the national movement against police violence. A Condado Tacos, in Columbus, Ohio, was asked to fill a massive order for the Ohio Highway Patrol officers. Workers at this Rust Belt restaurant chain were outraged at being asked to serve food to police during a moment of nationwide protests against police brutality. After a long discussion among all workers at the restaurant, employees staged a walkout and refused to fill the order. Due to these organizing efforts, local management even offered funds for bail support and authorized paid time off for protesting workers.
However, upper management of the restaurant chain retaliated against these workers’ actions. They have fired four employees and harshly reprimanded all involved. The representatives from Condado Tacos denied the firings, but the social media of the employees involved tells a different story. One employee stated: “Condado is a Mexican food company owned entirely by white people who claimed to be supportive of their community, but they take money from police and aren’t willing to give that back to protestors who need actual support right now.”
Since the story has gone viral, posts all over Facebook and Twitter are demanding the company hire back its staff and are calling for the restaurant chain to end support for any police department. Many people are hitting the chain with one-star Yelp reviews to protest their collaboration with the cops.
Because of this pressure, the restaurant has stated publicly that if the workers choose to come back to work, their jobs will still be there, but they will continue to serve food to law enforcement. In an Instagram post, Condado Tacos stated, “To the black community: we see you and we know you are hurting. We need to make it clear, black lives matter.”
But this public-facing statement is nothing but pandering, only put forward after the company was called out. The real solidarity comes from the employees who organized and walked out in unity and camaraderie with the protests. Workers of the world can unite against police brutality! No tacos for cops!