NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Honking their horns with signs on their cars, a set of drivers Wednesday morning wanted to make their message perfectly clear: support and protect our workers.
"Our purpose out here is today is to demonstrate around what workers need,” Vonda McDaniel, President of the Central Labor Council of Nashville and Middle TN said.
Organizers with the Central Labor Council of Nashville and Middle TN, as well as STAND UP Nashville helped form the “Worker First” Caravan in Nashville for racial and economic justice.
"We want to make sure that there's equal pay for people for the jobs that they go on. all of those things are things that we're talking about,’ Odessa Kelly, Executive Director for STAND UP Nashville said.
It’s part of a massive national day of action and solidarity, calling on lawmakers to enact bold policies to address the coronavirus pandemic, economic inequalities and systemic racism in our country.
"Too many times we try to separate "workers" as though it's something different from the people who are also taxpayers, the people that we protect. The people who wanna uplift. It's all one in the same,” Kelly said.
The Caravan started at the Central Labor Council’s union hall off of Lindell Avenue. Participants drove 3 miles to the state capitol and circled the capitol building multiple times.
"They need healthcare, they need paid sick leave. They need PPE, protection on the job. And as we reopen this economy, we need to make sure that the essential workers are put first!! And not the interest of business,” McDaniel said.
With the nation slowly reopening, organizers say it’s the lower middle class, workers of color, who oftentimes carry the burden more than most. An issue, these drivers say, needs to be acknowledged.
"What we're asking for is people be intentional in making sure that we give dignity and pride to the people who go out and do a certain task for a job that they do everyday to make sure this economy runs,” Kelly said.
According to new data from the Economic Policy Institute, The majority of workers and roughly 70% of Black and Hispanic workers who are currently working onsite at their workplaces, and not at home, believe they face considerable risks from the coronavirus. These workers are not being provided sufficient protections on the job.
After the caravan, organizers held a press conference, once again calling on lawmakers to listen to what they’re demanding.