May Day is International Workers’ Day, a day to uphold workers’ struggle around the world. In over 80 countries May 1 is an official holiday. International Workers’ Day is the commemoration of the May 4, 1886 Haymarket affair in Chicago. Police were trying to disperse a public assembly during a general strike for the eight-hour workday and fired on the workers, killing four demonstrators.
Unions in the United States — especially in urban areas with strong support for organized labor — have maintained a connection with labor traditions through their own unofficial observances on May 1. In 2006, May 1 was chosen by mostly Latino immigrant groups in the United States as the day for the Great American Boycott, a general strike of undocumented immigrant workers and supporters to protest H.R. 4437 immigration reform legislation.
On May 1, 2012, tens of thousands marched in the streets of New York and around the US to commemorate May Day as the worker’s holiday and to protest the dismal state of the economy, the growing divide between the rich and the poor and the status quo of economic inequality. Members of Occupy Wall Street and labor unions held protests together in a number of cities in the United States and Canada on May 1, 2012 to commemorate May Day.
How will you celebrate May Day this year?