wildcat strike

(EDITOR’S NOTE: 8/4/18, 1:12 AM ET: This article and embedded video contains strong language.)

30-year-old Antoine Dangerfield was, until recently, a construction contractor working on a UPS hub in Indianapolis, Indiana. Now he’s famous for recording a viral video of a wildcat strike.

In a video published on Wednesday entitled “On they Mexican together shit,” Dangerfield is heard behind the camera commenting on a spontaneous wildcat strike (a strike not sanctioned by a union) by Hispanic workers at the UPS hub, who all decided to walk off the job in solidarity with several workers who were fired earlier that day.

“Hey amigos, get up out this mothafucka! Y’all got em fucked up!” Dangerfield said at the start of the video. “They sent a couple of em home, they all packed they shit up and shut this mothafucka down!”

“Who y’all think y’all playin with?” Dangerfield added. “They thought they was gonna play with these amigos, and they said, ‘ah yeah, we rise together, homie!’ ”

Socialist magazine Jacobin reached out to Dangerfield, who has since been fired after posting the video and refusing management’s requests to take it down. Even though Dangerfield lost his job, he said he doesn’t regret his decision to post the video, telling the magazine that “losing a job is nothing compared to the big picture.”

“[Management is] real mad about it. They tried to pay me $250 to take it down. But there’s nothing I could do about it. I didn’t expect it to be this big,” Dangerfield told Jacobin.

According to Dangerfield, a safety coordinator UPS hired to oversee construction of the new hub had a habit of harassing and intimidating the largely Hispanic workforce. Apparently, nonwhite workers made each other aware whenever the coordinator came around, as he was known for “always messing with them, taking pictures and videos, trying to get them fired.”

We have safety meetings, and we usually have a translator [for Spanish speakers] because there are so many. On Tuesday, we had a safety meeting, and like I said, the Mexicans don’t really like [the safety coordinator].

He asked one of the Mexicans to come up and translate. He didn’t wanna do it. [The coordinator] got mad, real red-faced. Next thing you know, he dismissed the meeting. So he’s walking around just sending them home, trying to fire them. So he sent like five or six of them home.

So the Hispanics got together and were like, “Nah. We got families and kids. We’re not about to let these dudes just do whatever.” So they took a stand.

Apparently, after the video was posted and spread on social media (the video has more than two million views on Facebook as of this writing) UPS sent several corporate representatives to the Indiana facility. Dangerfield told Jacobin that they offered him $250 to take the video down after he had already been fired, but he refused.

“I just felt that power, man. It just felt good. They were walking out with their heads up, strong. It touched me,” Dangerfield said when describing his feeling recording the wildcat strike. “That’s why I was like, wow, this is beautiful. It was beautiful that they came together like that — stood up for themselves and not let that dude walk all over them.”

“We’re the ones, the workers — we make the heads get rich. Treating us lesser than isn’t even cool,” he added. “We’re the reason the hub was getting built. Ain’t no owners out there in their hard hats. We’re the ones putting our life on the line. So you gotta respect us.”

 

Logan Espinoza is a freelance contributor specializing in economic issues. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and daughter. Contact him at logan DOT espinoza AT yahoo DOT com.

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