Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Undocumented Workers Are on Hunger Strike in New York City

Dozens of undocumented immigrants are on hunger strike in New York City — many of them essential workers who worked all through the pandemic. Part of the “Fast for the Forgotten” which began on March 16, the hunger strikers  are primarily vendors, restaurant workers and delivery service workers. They are demanding that the upcoming state […]

Maria Aurelio

April 1, 2021
Facebook Twitter Share

Dozens of undocumented immigrants are on hunger strike in New York City — many of them essential workers who worked all through the pandemic. Part of the “Fast for the Forgotten” which began on March 16, the hunger strikers  are primarily vendors, restaurant workers and delivery service workers. They are demanding that the upcoming state budget include a $3.5 billion fund for undocumented workers, who are ineligible for government financial assistance. 

As one hunger striker told Left Voice, “ I want them to listen to us and help us. It’s just because we don’t have papers. We are also valuable. We are workers.”

The City reports that over 70 people have participated in the hunger strike to date. The strikers are subsisting on water and other liquids. 

A hunger striker, Verónica Leal told The City “We’ve lived through so much this year, we’ve experienced so much need.” Leal recalled explaining to her teenage daughter why she wanted to participate in the hunger strike. “And if this group that is coming together to go on strike gets to win on their demands,” Leal said, “that means they’d have made a difference, not just for themselves but for thousands if not millions of people — and I want to be a part of that.”

The workers on hunger strike are a part of hundreds of thousands of undocumented workers in New York who have been ineligible for unemployment and stimus checks through the pandemic. They have been left out by Republicans and Democrats alike and have received no relief over the last year, including through Biden’s latest $1.9 trillion stimulus bill. The $3.5 billion fund that these essential workers are demanding would provide retroactive, direct cash assistance to workers who haven’t had access to aid yet. 

A hunger striker explained, “We were essential at the time of the hardest point of the pandemic. At that point yes, we were essential, obviously. And as always the doctors, the nurses and us service workers were essential. But now that the number of deaths has lowered a bit, we are no longer essential, we are no longer useful, we are no longer needed.”

In January, the budgets put forward by the New York State Assembly and Senate included $2.1 billion in funding for excluded workers, which falls below the $3.5 billion desperately needed. Governor Cuomo, on the other hand, did not include an excluded workers fund in his executive budget proposal.



On Wednesday, over 50 people blocked a road in front of City Hall. Hunger strikers carried signs explaining why they are on hunger strike, while other protesters carried signs demanding the cancelation of rent and help for undocumented workers. Not too long after, the police arrived and arrested 14 people who were blocking the road.

New York City has billions to spend on police to target protesters and hunger strikers. However, city and state officials claim that there isn’t any money for undocumented essential workers who are merely demanding the right to make a living.  But New York has the money. It’s in the police budget and it’s in the pockets of capitalists — the same capitalists who make billions off of the backs of these workers and are taxed at paltry rates. That’s why some protesters are also demanding to tax the rich. 

A protester explained, “When this pandemic started, rich people in Manhattan were banging pots and pans. They were saying oh yes, our essential workers are heroes. But when it comes time to help undocumented people? … There are people here who can’t feed their children. They are going to food pantries because they can’t buy food… but these are the people who were delivering our UberEats, they were delivering our food. They were our nannies and our construction workers. Every single person who has ordered food should be out here supporting these people.”


Follow the struggle at FEWCoalition #FundExcludedWorkers

Facebook Twitter Share

United States

Three activists stand together while one activist holds up an "uncommitted" sign with the word "vote" written on it many times. In the left side of the picture another activist holds a sign that says "abandon Genocide Joe"

Don’t Vote Uncommitted — Commit to Breaking with the Democrats

Tapping into deep anger with President Biden, the left wing of the Democratic Party is urging Michigan voters to vote “uncommitted” in the primary election. But this strategy funnels progressives’ energy back into the Democratic party when we need political independence from the parties supporting the genocide in Gaza.

Brian H. Silverstein

February 27, 2024

The Organic Crisis in 2024: This Year’s Election Is a Battle for the Hearts and Minds of U.S. Workers

The battle between Trump and Biden is being shaped by a crisis of the political regime, requiring the intervention of both the judiciary and the union bureaucracy. The battle for the presidency is a battle for the working class and a battle over which approach to imperialism is best for competing with China and reestablishing US hegemony. As usual, the Democrats are taking up the cudgel of democratic rights in order to rally disaffected voters.

Sybil Davis

February 23, 2024
A NYPD officer arrests a masked pro-Palestine protestors wearing a kaffiyeh while other cops and masked protesters look on.

Attacks on the Pro-Palestine Movement Are Attacks on the Right to Protest

As the movement for Palestine against Israel’s brutal military invasion of Gaza and attacks on the West Bank continues at a lower intensity than last fall, the State is cracking down on the leaderships of the movement and rolling back gains made by the Black Lives Matter uprising of 2020. The movement must grow in order to fight back against repression and protect our democratic right to protest.

Carmin Maffea

February 10, 2024

When Columbia Students Are Under Attack, We Must Stand Up, Fight Back!

On January 19, two Columbia University students who are former Israeli Defense Forces soldiers attacked students with a chemical-based weapon called “skunk,” at a campus protest against the genocide of Palestinians. Students must unite with workers to defend our movement; from Palestine to Low, the attacks have got to go!

K.S. Mehta

February 2, 2024

MOST RECENT

Protesters at an evening protest in NY carry a sign that reads "from ferguson to palestine occupation is a crime"

This Black History Month, Let’s Fight for Palestinian Liberation

Black liberation struggles have always expressed solidarity with the struggle against the Zionist occupation of Palestine. This Black History Month, as Israel continues its genocide in Gaza, this tradition takes on a special importance.

Carmin Maffea

February 26, 2024
All That's Left, the podcast from Left Voice.

#AllThatsLeftPod: Two Years of War in Ukraine

On this episode of the podcast, we discuss the war in Ukraine after two years, and the continued need for an independent, working-class solution.

Left Voice

February 24, 2024

The Tide Is Turning: New Yorkers Are Speaking Out for Palestinian Liberation

New York's anti-zionist movement is is rising up and speaking out for Palestinian liberation.

Ana Orozco

February 23, 2024

The United States Is Trapped in the Middle East

As a result of Israel’s offensive on Gaza, the United States is again becoming deeply entrenched in the Middle East. This is a humiliating blow to President Biden, who promised to reassert U.S. imperialism by moving away from direct involvement in the region.

Samuel Karlin

February 22, 2024