Legal Workers Rank and File
The Legal Workers Rank and File is a cross-union, multi-employer organization of legal service workers. We are committed to rebuilding and revitalizing a militant labor movement across the legal services industry to defend and advance the interests of our communities.
Statement of the Legal Workers Rank and File in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
We, the Legal Workers Rank and File, acknowledge that we issue this statement while on the traditional territory of the Lenape people, and that we are organizing within systems built from colonial violence.
As COVID-19 sweeps across the United States, it lays bare the deep inhumanity of a society that prioritizes profits over people. Those most likely to be harmed by both the virus itself and by the economic effects of the pandemic are those who are already disproportionately marginalized under capitalism.
Federal, state, and local government responses to the pandemic have ranged from unforgivable measures, including trillions of dollars in corporate welfare, to helpful measures such as eviction moratoriums, the release of some incarcerated people, and the suspension of certain debt obligations. These responses demonstrate that the demands of the poor and working class have long been within reach, but have been blocked by the political might of the capitalist class.
In these moments, it is critical that our vision and our demands go beyond the limits imposed by mainstream political leaders, the corporate media, neoliberal think tanks, and the nonprofit industrial complex. These forces will never hand down the changes we need from on high; only struggle from below can win the more human world the current crisis calls for. We stand in solidarity with workers like those in Amazon warehouses and at Whole Foods taking wildcat actions to win basic protections and dignity, and encourage those in our industry to learn from these inspiring actions.
Recognizing that militant, organized labor is in a powerful position to demand and to create meaningful change for all people, the Legal Workers Rank and File calls on our unions and on our comrades across New York, across the country, and around the world to join us in the following demands:
Ensure all workers are economically and physically protected throughout the crisis. This must include:
Government guaranteed living-wage income for all who have lost their jobs
Adequate physical protection for essential workers
Job protections for militants organizing strikes and other labor actions
Release all people who are detained or incarcerated in jails, prisons, and immigration detention centers.
Cease all arrests, ICE raids, and deportations as well as the racist and oppressive surveillance and separation of families by federal, state, and local agencies.
Provide aid, including but not limited to food, shelter, money, and proper medical assistance, to all people regardless of income, immigration status, criminal record, disability status, or lack of permanent housing.
We demand legal status for all undocumented immigrants living in the US, and all those who seek to migrate here
Every person must be tested for COVID-19 and provided free and comprehensive treatment upon testing positive
Redirect police funding to social services
Provide safe, free housing that allows for social distancing to all people, regardless of immigration status.
All vacant living spaces including condos, hotel/motel rooms, apartments, and houses, whether or not privately owned, must be used to house the homeless, including those currently in shelters, as well as people discharged from immigration detention centers and jails
No evictions, no foreclosures. Automatic right to renewal leases in all buildings, including those not currently subject to rent regulation
Immediately cancel all consumer debt including debts owed for rent, mortgage, utilities, healthcare, credit cards, property taxes, auto loans, and student loans. These debts must not be simply postponed, but written off entirely.
Extending policies that meet these demands past the end of the COVID-19 crisis.