Philly Teachers Call Off Work In Bottom-Up Campaign

Philly teachers organized their co-workers to participate in a mass call-off day this May Day. Photo: Caucus of Working Educators

By Samantha Winslow for Labor Notes – Teachers and their unions turned out for May Day this year in St. Paul, Minneapolis, Oakland, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Chicago, and Seattle. They held teach-ins at schools and pickets outside, and joined citywide demonstrations in solidarity with immigrant communities. Philadelphia teachers wanted to show solidarity with the day’s themes—but also make a statement to the city about their own contract struggle. They’ve gone four years without a contract and five years without a raise. They’ve suffered school closings, freezes on steps and lanes in the pay scale, layoffs of school nurses and counselors, and the privatization of substitute teachers. The state-appointed school board even tried to cancel their contract, though it was rebuffed by the courts. So, to create pressure on the district, a group of teachers organized their own protest. “We are finally taking some action, after five years of not doing much,” said Tom Quinn, a teacher at the city’s largest high school, where more than half of teachers took a “personal day” on May Day. The 11,000-member Philadelphia Federation of Teachers didn’t authorize the action. Instead it was a rank-and-file group, the three-year-old Caucus of Working Educators, that enlisted 400 teachers from 24 schools to call off from work and join a series of May Day activities.

Violent Clashes Break Out At May Day March In Paris

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By Ross Domoney for ROAR Magazine – Heavy clashes erupt at May Day demonstrations in Paris ahead of a historic election that will see the neoliberal Macron square off against the neo-fascist Le Pen.

Here To Stay: Immigrant Workers Demand Justice, Respect On May Day

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By Anne Meador and John Zangas for DC Media Group – Thousands of people marched in the streets of Washington, DC to celebrate May Day, the holiday often known as International Workers’ Day, with defiant calls for a living wage, benefits, and safe working conditions. In light of President Trump’s assault on immigrants and refugees, the rallies and marches also became protests against refugee bans, deportations and raids on immigrant communities. Crowds filled Dupont Circle, Malcolm X Park, Freedom Plaza, and Courthouse in Arlington, then converged into marches to the White House. American flags mingled with Mexican flags and bright red socialist flags. Many of the large number of Hispanic participants were immigrants from Mexico and Central American countries, and, in spite of risks, even undocumented immigrants were present and vocal. While some might expect recent Trump initiatives, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids and efforts to build a wall on the border of Mexico, to intimidate those born in another country, there was an unmistakable tone of defiance in every speech, chant and sign. “No papers, no fear!” they cried. Some signs advertised the hashtag #heretostay.

Over 100 Thousand Join “Day Without Immigrants” Strike

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By Staff for Cosecha. Immigrant workers in over 30 states across the country joined a national strike billed as a “Day Without Immigrants” today to demonstrate that the country depends on the labor of immigrants and working class people of color. Immigrant rights groups, worker centers and unions joined together for the largest national strike since the immigrant-led Mega Marches of 2006. The Cosecha movement was the first group to call for the “Day Without Immigrants” May Day strike, with a public launch in early February. Cosecha led strikes and marches in over 40 cities across the country, where thousands of businesses closed their stores. “This Day Without Immigrants is the first step in a series of strikes and boycotts that will change the conversation on immigration in the United States,” said Maria Fernanda Cabello, a undocumented leader and the May 1st campaign coordinator with Cosecha. “We believe that when the country recognizes it depends on immigrant labor to function, we will win permanent protection from deportation for the 11 million undocumented immigrants.”

May Day In The Hood

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By John Reimann for North Star – So, I was walking down the street in my neighborhood, posting these leaflets (English and Spanish) for a May Day event in the neighborhood park. Got my backpack on, my cap to shield the sun, my stapler in hand. I’m starting to think, “what am I doing this for?”, feeling like Don Quixote. Then two young brothers come walking towards me, smoking a joint. I stop them and give them a leaflet. “You know about May Day – international workers’ day?” I ask. After a few words, the one young guy gets going. “We’re the original people, the Hebrews, brought over here. You can call us whatever – Africans, n____s, slaves. We’re the ones who built this country ourselves. Built it from scratch and never got nothing. We’re disrespected…” He talked a bit more on this subject. “As long as nothing is done about it, as long as we don’t get no reparations, nothing is going to change.” I agreed. “Yeah, you know the Three Musketeers?” I said. “Yeah. One for all and all for one,” he said.

Call For Global Unity On May Day

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By James E. Rabbitt, III. This May Day (Monday, May 1, 2017), workers worldwide are invited to participate in an unprecedented call for global unity demanding that all full-time workers are paid a living wage by means of a May Day General Strike, which transcends borders and all other divides among fellow workers. The success of this event is dependent upon word of mouth and social media to invite others who will collectively stand together in solidarity to end the unjustifiable inhumane suffering and exploitation of underpaid workers everywhere. This act of global unity to improve the quality of life for millions, possibly even billions, of people can be held at every place of employment, with workers determining which type of strike is best suited for their unique workplace (i.e. sick-ins, picketing, good work strikes, etc.).

50 Clergy, Students & Allies Sit-In At Boston Detention Center; 20 Arrested

Sit-in at ICE office in Boston, May 24, 2017 by Movimiento Cosecha‏. From @CosechaMovement on Twitter.

By Staff of Cosecha. The sit in a the South Bay detention center in Boston comes in response to the detention of three immigrant rights activists from Justicia Migrante in Burlington, VT: Jose Enrique “Kike” Balcazar, Zully Victoria Palacios, and Cesar Alexis Carrillo Sanchez. ICE has been specifically targeting immigrant rights activists in what appears to be blatant political retaliation for advocating publicly for the rights of immigrants and dairy workers. “While the realities of raids, repression, and deportations are nothing new for our people, they’ve reached an unbearable boiling point,” said Rodrigo Saavedra, a Cosecha organizer. “The time has come for immigrants to transform the political weather. Cosecha is planning what could be the largest immigrant strike since the 2006 megamarches on May 1. It will be a Day Without Immigrants: We won’t work; we won’t buy; we won’t go to school. Instead, we will rise together, we will march together and, in the absence of our labor and consumption, we will be recognized.”

Make May Day A Day Of Resistance

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By Staff of Socialist Worker – HERE IN Seattle, the favored topic of small talk has shifted from the clouds and rain to the president and his incompetence. Students at my high school have formed relationships with teachers on that basis alone, and it seems there is no longer any political division between instructor and student. This general agreement is important for its own sake, but especially for the potential it creates. As high school students and teachers find common ground in their opposition to Donald Trump, the two will see new opportunities to stand up for one another politically. The first such opportunity is less than a month away. Seattle teachers recently voted on whether to strike for the day on May Day, but failed to get the endorsement of the union, leaving an opening for high school students to carry on their struggle. On May Day, Seattle students should walk out of their schools and show support for their teachers’ efforts. Last month, members of the Seattle Education Association (SEA) voted on whether to strike on May 1. The strike would have been a platform for teachers to demand better funding of public schools–an increasingly important issue in the age of Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos– and to voice support for the rights of immigrant and Muslim students.

Hundreds Of Thousands Of Workers Will Strike May 1

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By Cora Lewis for BuzzFeed News – Members of SEIU United Service Workers West protest during May Day demonstrations at Los Angeles International Airport in 2012. Gus Ruelas / Reuters Since Donald Trump’s election, there has been no shortage of wildcat strikes by groups disproportionately affected by his administration’s policies. But this time around, organized labor is driving the effort. According to a coalition of groups leading the strike, more than 300,000 food chain workers and 40,000 unionized service workers have said they will walk off the job so far. Huerta’s union chapter represents tens of thousands of workers, including janitors, security officers and airport staff, while the Food Chain Workers Alliance, which represents workers throughout the food industry, says hundreds of thousands of its non-unionized members have committed to striking.

Protest Groups Uniting As 'The Majority' For Actions On May Day

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By Aaron Morrison for Mic – Activist groups are uniting as a broader coalition they’ve dubbed “The Majority,” an idea inspired by the Movement for Black Lives — a collective of organizations in the Black Lives Matter movement — organizers first shared with Mic on Thursday. More than 50 partners representing black, Latino, the indigenous, LGBTQ, refugees, immigrants, laborers and the poor will collaborate from April 4 through May 1, International Worker’s Day, when they’ll launch massive protests across the country. The action will “go beyond moments of outrage, beyond narrow concepts of sanctuary, and beyond barriers between communities that have much at stake and so much in common,”…

May Day Mass Action Will Be Historic 'Strike From Below'

Participants in 2006's A Day Without Immigrants protest marched on May 1 in Washington, D.C. That action is part of the inspiration behind a general strike set for May 1 of this year that will focus on immigrants and other marginalized workers. (Photo by Elvert Barnes via Flickr.)

By Sue Sturgis for Facing South – Hundreds of thousands of service workers across the South and the rest of the nation are planning to take part in a general strike for human rights and equality on May Day, which marks International Workers’ Day. Organizers say the May 1 Strike, which aims to express the collective power of the country’s most marginalized workers and to stop attacks by the Trump administration and its corporate allies, is the biggest general-strike organizing effort in the U.S. in over 70 years. “The Trump administration’s dangerous attacks against food worker families and all marginalized people continue a centuries-long history of oppression,” the organizers said in a statement.

Making May Day A Day For Solidarity

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By Nicole Colson for Socialist Worker – The Women’s Marches held the day after he took office were the largest single day of demonstrations in U.S. history. Thousands of people participated in a new form of protest–the airport occupation–in response to his Muslim ban. There are two major environmental justice mobilizations coming up in in April. And now, with the Trump regime ramping up deportations and raids across the country, immigrant rights activists and organizations are joining with labor and other forces to turn this year’s May Day into a show of solidarity and struggle against Trump’s agenda. The urgency of making a stand is clear after the White House shifted the deportation machine into high gear.

May Day: Seattle Educators Moving Closer To Strike

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By Calvin Priest for Counter Punch – On Monday, March 13, the Seattle Educators Association (SEA) took a big step toward May 1 strike action in voting by an overwhelming majority in favor of a one-day strike at their Representative Assembly. The resolution will now require approval by the union’s full membership. The vote was a response to more than a decade of unconstitutional underfunding of public education in Washington State. But it was also a part of a series of recent moves by Seattle unions preparing to take action on May Day against the vicious right-wing agenda of Donald Trump. In February, WFSE Local 304, representing workers at Seattle community colleges, passed a resolution supporting strike and protest action on May 1.

May Day Rallies Worldwide Demand Workers’ Rights

Foreign laborers in Taiwan shout slogans during a May Day rally in Taipei, Taiwan, Sunday, May 1, 2016.  (Photo: AP/Chiang Ying-ying)

By Andrea Germanos for Common Dreams – Workers on Sunday marked May Day across the globe with rallies in cities from Paris, to Istanbul, to Manila. Some of the protesters faced violence from police. According to reporting by Reuters,”Turkish police fired tear gas and water cannon and detained more than 200 people after scuffles broke out at May Day celebrations in Istanbul and some anti-government protesters tried to breach a ban on access to the main Taksim square.” As France’s parliament is weighing a bill that would erode worker protections, “hundreds of angry youths on the sidelines of a May Day labor rally hurled stones and wood at police in Paris…

Lucy Parsons: Anarchist And Intersectional Feminist Who Inspired May Day

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By Laura Flanders for Commondreams. Workers shouldn’t strike and go out and starve, but strike and remain in, and take possession, said Lucy parsons. Lifelong partner of Albert parsons, one of the American Labor Leaders, most associated with the founding of the American May Day tradition. lucy_parsonsLucy Parsons was of Mexican American, African American, and Native American Descent. She was born into slavery and she was an intersectional thinker and activist a century before the term was coined. Her work after emancipation led her directly into conflict with the Ku Klux Clan and into a lifelong partnership with radical typographer and organizer Albert Parsons.