A “dystopian” viral video shows the New York Police Department arresting picketers on Monday as they were striking for better wages for produce market workers.
Members of the Teamsters Local 202 union assembled outside the Hunts Point Market in the Bronx on Monday to continue their ongoing wage strike. Since Saturday, the organization has been striking for a $1/hour raise for produce market workers.
The video, which was shared by the Teamsters on Twitter and later reposted on Reddit, shows cops approaching the strikers as they play a pre-recorded warning from a nearby police vehicle urging them to disperse.
“You are unlawfully in the roadway and obstructing vehicular traffic,” the recording says. “You are ordered to leave the roadway and utilize the available sidewalk. If you do so voluntarily, no charges will be placed against you. If you remain in the roadway and refuse to utilize the sidewalk, you will be placed under arrest and charged with disorderly conduct.”
As the recording plays on loop, dozens of police officers—some of whom are wearing riot gear—rush the strikers.
The strikers, which the New York Daily News numbers around two dozen, can be seen putting their hands up as the cops approach them. Some strikers can also be heard chanting, “Hands up, don’t shoot!”
The video does not show cops arresting any picketers, but six picketers were reportedly taken into custody. An NYPD spokesman said they were given summonses for disorderly conduct and released.
Daniel Kane Jr., president of Teamsters Local 202, condemned the NYPD for arresting the picketers in a Tuesday statement.
“It is outrageous that after being called essential heroes for months, several of our members were arrested while peacefully protesting for a raise today,” Kane said. “These are the essential workers who went to work every day through the worst of the pandemic to feed New York. All they are asking for is a dollar-an-hour raise so they can feed their families too. The fact that they were arrested on Martin Luther King Day reminds us what side of history we are on.”
Redditors condemned the cops’ actions as well, while also noting the irony of one union busting another.
“Cops work for corporations. Full stop,” one viewer wrote. “They are not working-class members.”
“There’s a difference between a worker’s union and grifter union,” another commented.
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