Thousands of U.S. union members and their supporters marched on the Capitol on Monday to demand better pay and health benefits, the first day of a nationwide strike in almost two years.
The day-long walkout comes as Congress is trying to avert a government shutdown and avert a potential government shutdown of its own.
The U.N. said the U.K. would leave the European Union on March 28, and the U-S.
is expected to leave the WTO next week.
But the labor-backed walkout is the latest example of the growing strength of a broad labor movement.
The strike began as part of a broader effort by a large majority of union members to pressure the administration into action on wages, benefits and other issues that they say have stagnated for years.
“We are fighting for fair pay, equal pay, health care, the right to unionize,” said Alana Parejes, 28, a nurse at the state-run Colorado HealthCare Center.
“The last thing we want to see is a government shut down.”
The walkout began in the Uptown section of the Capitol building at noon and stretched across the entire complex.
It was peaceful until about 4 p.m., when protesters gathered at the entrance to the chamber and marched into the House chamber, carrying signs that read “We Are The 99%” and “Fight for the rights of all workers.”
They chanted slogans such as “Fight back against a corrupt system” and “Austerity sucks!”
At one point, a man shouted out, “Let’s go home!
We are here!”
Others threw eggs at the protesters, and some members of the union’s youth wing yelled, “Take that, Trump!”
Some demonstrators waved signs that said “The government’s a thief” and carried signs that identified the members of their union as members of Black Lives Matter.
They chanted, “Fight to the death for fair wages, fair pay!”
Some members of UAW Local 515 of the state’s most populous county also joined the march.
“It’s a massive, huge outpouring of support from our members and the rank and file,” said Steve Stauffer, president of the UAW, which represents more than 500,000 workers in more than 1,000 unions.
“This is the most active and significant mobilization we’ve ever seen.
It’s just a continuation of a long-term trend of the strength of the labor movement and the importance of our membership.”
Stauffers support for a union and for workers is part of the overall national labor movement, which is increasingly united in its push to win fair wages and benefits.
That push includes a growing number of strikes, including a national walkout of fast-food workers last year that led to the resignation of fast food giant McDonald’s CEO Andrew Puzder.
The National Labor Relations Board is scheduled to hear a petition Wednesday from a group of U-W and Local 519 members who claim that their pay and conditions have been consistently inadequate.
The workers will ask the NLRB to allow them to strike for two weeks, or until their pay is increased.
The union has asked for a temporary restraining order to prevent the NLRB from blocking the strike.
The NLRB has declined to intervene.
In a statement Monday, the agency said it will “ensure that the full scope of the issues raised by the workers are fully considered.”
The union’s actions came as the administration sought to secure a deal to keep the government open and avoid a government default.
President Donald Trump has said he would like to keep federal funding flowing to health care providers but would not make any changes to Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security.