In commemoration of International Working Women’s Day, over 150 workers and supporters sat down in the middle of crowded Decatur St. in the French Quarter. For half an hour, the workers showed the city a taste of their power, shutting down the street in solidarity with the hospitality workers being forced to work for almost no wages, without healthcare, sick leave, or reliable public transportation. Other workers nearby cheered them on, including bus drivers and truckers who paused in their routes. Many hospitality workers came out of their workplaces raising their fists in solidarity.
The New Orleans Hospitality Workers Alliance and the New Orleans Peoples’ Assembly led a coalition of working women to demand the city and the Tourism Board return $180 million in taxes that currently line the pockets of the rich ruling class instead of serving the people. Hospitality and workers from other industries spoke up in the streets, demanding childcare, maternity leave, sick pay, better schedules, pensions, an end to racist and sexual harassment, and healthcare. All these programs could be funded by the tax money currently hoarded by the city’s greedy capitalists. Speakers included leaders from the New Orleans Hospitality Workers Alliance, Women With a Vision, the New Orleans Abortion Fund, the Amalgamated Transit Union (Bus Drivers) Local 1560, Erase the Board Coalition, New Orleans Workers Group, and others. The rally was conducted in English and Spanish.
As the workers marched out of the French Quarter, they chanted “We’ll be back,” promising to continue the fight.