Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) on Wednesday showed up to a picket line with a can of Cafe Bustelo and hand warmers in tow. Grocery store workers in the south Bronx are currently protesting to get a "modest raise" and AOC, of course, had to be there cheering them on.
According to Freight Waves, roughly 1,400 warehouse workers at the Hunts Point Produce Market went on strike. The market is responsible for hauling in roughly 60 percent of the produce in the New York City area. It is estimated that as many as 30,000 trucks per day go through the market.
The strikers are part of Teamsters Joint Council 16, which serves the Greater New York area. Those who are on strike make between $18 and $21-an-hour. The union heads and the local chapter are at odds over a raise as contract negotiations rage on. Teamsters want to see a $1-per-hour wage increase. The union heads, however, offered a 32 cents-per-hour raise.
This is the first time the union organized a strike in 35 years.
Workers are ON STRIKE at the Hunts Point Market, which supplies 60% of NYC's produce.— NYC-DSA ?? #JoinDSA (@nycDSA) January 18, 2021
Follow @TeamstersJC16 for updates and show up at 772 Edgewater Rd if you can join in person! https://t.co/gnLavV67oL
Of course, Ocasio-Cortez had to make sure she was seen and heard.
"The more we talk about this, the more we can put on the pressure so that we not just get a buck, but that we change lives for people across this country," AOC said into a microphone. "So thank you for doing that work!"
AOC visits striking produce workers — essential workers who want a modest raise — at Hunts Point market in the South Bronx: https://t.co/IwkkuGDjjP— Greg Krieg (@GregJKrieg) January 21, 2021
She went on to talk about the issues she sees with the economy.
"There's a lot of things upside down right now in our economy and one of those things that's upside down is the fact that a person who is helping get the food to your table cannot feed their own kids," Ocasio-Cortez said, as the crowd agreed. "That's upside down. The fact that someone can help you get health care, or help you deliver your groceries, can't even get health care themselves or can't even get access to those things themselves. That's not right. That's upside down! So what we're doing here today is taking the upside down and making it right side up."
According to AOC, that change is made, not with politicians like her, but with average people going through a "collective struggle"