For nearly 20 years, Blackstone Bicycle Works has been more than a place to buy a bike or get a flat fixed. From helping customers get sized for their first bike to teaching young people how to build their own bikes, the mechanics at Blackstone have been an integral part of the cycling community and the South Side. Through the pandemic, as interest in cycling surged and the need for safe transportation grew, the mechanics worked through it all to meet our communities’ need for transportation. Just after Christmas, Experimental Station leadership decided to close the shop indefinitely, with only a week’s notice. In January 2021, the three remaining staff mechanics were laid off!
Since Josh, Kevin, and Nana were laid off, those who have applied have been denied unemployment. We are asking our communities for monetary support to cover their lost wages. All funds raised will be split between the three mechanics who were laid off!
Blackstone Bicycle Works is a community bike shop and youth program based out of the Experimental Station in Woodlawn. It’s been a beloved part of Chicago’s cycling community for decades, and many from the program have had deep and long relationships with the community and the neighborhood. The wide network of alumni and former staff have gone on to start bike shops, programs, and organizing efforts. Too often, though, Blackstone Bicycle Works staff have been treated disposably. While there is much more healing to do and work to prevent these cycles of disposability, the first step is to support our fellow workers. Donate at bit.ly/BBWfund
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Workers at the Experimental Station Union are fighting for better working conditions for all employees, a safe workplace, the right to address grievances and seek accountability for a more collectively determined future. Our efforts have been met with union busting from the Experimental Station Board. You can read more at esunion.org or @expstationunion on instagram, twitter, and facebook.
Love and solidarity, Experimental Station Union