Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Undocumented Workers Are on Hunger Strike in New York City

Dozens of undocumented immigrants are on hunger strike in New York City — many of them essential workers who worked all through the pandemic. Part of the “Fast for the Forgotten” which began on March 16, the hunger strikers  are primarily vendors, restaurant workers and delivery service workers. They are demanding that the upcoming state […]

Maria Aurelio

April 1, 2021
Facebook Twitter Share

Dozens of undocumented immigrants are on hunger strike in New York City — many of them essential workers who worked all through the pandemic. Part of the “Fast for the Forgotten” which began on March 16, the hunger strikers  are primarily vendors, restaurant workers and delivery service workers. They are demanding that the upcoming state budget include a $3.5 billion fund for undocumented workers, who are ineligible for government financial assistance. 

As one hunger striker told Left Voice, “ I want them to listen to us and help us. It’s just because we don’t have papers. We are also valuable. We are workers.”

The City reports that over 70 people have participated in the hunger strike to date. The strikers are subsisting on water and other liquids. 

A hunger striker, Verónica Leal told The City “We’ve lived through so much this year, we’ve experienced so much need.” Leal recalled explaining to her teenage daughter why she wanted to participate in the hunger strike. “And if this group that is coming together to go on strike gets to win on their demands,” Leal said, “that means they’d have made a difference, not just for themselves but for thousands if not millions of people — and I want to be a part of that.”

The workers on hunger strike are a part of hundreds of thousands of undocumented workers in New York who have been ineligible for unemployment and stimus checks through the pandemic. They have been left out by Republicans and Democrats alike and have received no relief over the last year, including through Biden’s latest $1.9 trillion stimulus bill. The $3.5 billion fund that these essential workers are demanding would provide retroactive, direct cash assistance to workers who haven’t had access to aid yet. 

A hunger striker explained, “We were essential at the time of the hardest point of the pandemic. At that point yes, we were essential, obviously. And as always the doctors, the nurses and us service workers were essential. But now that the number of deaths has lowered a bit, we are no longer essential, we are no longer useful, we are no longer needed.”

In January, the budgets put forward by the New York State Assembly and Senate included $2.1 billion in funding for excluded workers, which falls below the $3.5 billion desperately needed. Governor Cuomo, on the other hand, did not include an excluded workers fund in his executive budget proposal.

On Wednesday, over 50 people blocked a road in front of City Hall. Hunger strikers carried signs explaining why they are on hunger strike, while other protesters carried signs demanding the cancelation of rent and help for undocumented workers. Not too long after, the police arrived and arrested 14 people who were blocking the road.

New York City has billions to spend on police to target protesters and hunger strikers. However, city and state officials claim that there isn’t any money for undocumented essential workers who are merely demanding the right to make a living.  But New York has the money. It’s in the police budget and it’s in the pockets of capitalists — the same capitalists who make billions off of the backs of these workers and are taxed at paltry rates. That’s why some protesters are also demanding to tax the rich. 

A protester explained, “When this pandemic started, rich people in Manhattan were banging pots and pans. They were saying oh yes, our essential workers are heroes. But when it comes time to help undocumented people? … There are people here who can’t feed their children. They are going to food pantries because they can’t buy food… but these are the people who were delivering our UberEats, they were delivering our food. They were our nannies and our construction workers. Every single person who has ordered food should be out here supporting these people.”

Follow the struggle at FEWCoalition #FundExcludedWorkers

Facebook Twitter Share

United States

Pro-Palestine protesters at a march in Philadelphia. Palestinian flags in the background while someone holds up a sign that says "Freedom for Palestine."

Temple University Rank and Filers Release Palestine Solidarity Statement

Rank and filers at Temple University in Philly are demanding their union local and national fight to end all support for Israel and join the cause of Palestinian workers.

Jason Koslowski

August 3, 2021
An older woman wearing a hat holds a sign that reads "No More Unjust Revictions: I Lost My Home of 36 Years"

Eviction Moratorium Expired, Millions Face Homelessness

After a half-hearted attempt to extend the eviction moratorium failed, the House of Representatives left for summer vacation.

Emma Lee

August 2, 2021

Pandemic Profiteers: Pfizer Profits Exceed $10 Billion in Six Months

Pfizer has announced record profits as a result of vaccine sales. While the world is in crisis, pharmaceutical companies are raking in billions of dollars from advance contracts and by preventing the release of patents.

Biden Is Expediting Deportations of Migrant Families

The Biden administration added another repressive measure against migrants on top of Donald Trump's already draconian Title 42. Now border patrol agents have the right to decide asylum cases.

Tatiana Cozzarelli

July 29, 2021


Four healthcare workers, including co-author of this article Mike Pappas, stand in scrubs and masks in front of an Amazon warehouse holding signs in support of better wages and safer working conditions for Amazon workers.

What Billionaire Space Flights Mean to Healthcare Workers

While the Covid-19 pandemic continues to rage around the globe and climate disaster is destroying the planet, billionaires are taking joyrides to space. Two healthcare workers who worked throughout the pandemic respond.

Mike Pappas

August 2, 2021
Image of rubble and a lot of smoke in the background. People stand in front of the wreckage.

Joe Biden is Bombing Somalia

Despite claims to reduce drone strikes, Joe Biden is bombing Somalia.

K.S. Mehta

August 1, 2021

Coldest Weather in Decades Hits Brazil — Climate Change Is to Blame

This month, on the heels of the country’s worst drought in a century, Brazil has experienced historic cold weather. The effects on agriculture could have negative consequences across the world.

Otto Fors

July 30, 2021
On the left, the front cover of Argentine Marxist Juan Dal Maso's book Hegemony and Class Struggle. On the right, Dal Maso sits at a desk wearing a black sweater, mid-speech.

A Welcome and Necessary Encounter Between Trotsky and Gramsci

The following is Warren Montag's foreword to the new book by Argentinian Marxist Juan Dal Maso entitled "Hegemony and Class Struggle. Trotsky, Gramsci and Marxism" released by Palgrave Publishing House on July 28th.

Warren Montag

July 30, 2021