Annual May Day rally seeks labor reform and inclusion in 2016

LOS ANGELES – Immigration and worker rights advocates gathered for a small preview to what has become an annual tradition in the streets of Los Angeles–the annual May protests.

As advocates wait for the US Supreme Court to rule on President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration, thousands will take to the streets on May 1.

“May Day, a long time ago, was about the struggle for the eight-hour day,” said Maria Elena Durazo of the LA County Federation of Labor. “May Day was about workers organizing for better working conditions. Here we are in 2016, and we’re fighting for better working conditions for immigrants and all workers.”

With a presidential election drawing close, advocates believe May Day is a chance for immigrant and workers groups to make political statements on what kind of candidates they want.

“In 2016 the best way to move America forward is to vote in November,” said Rusty Hicks of the LA County Federation of Labor. “With our vote we can stop the hatred that’s infected our political discourse. We can vote to stop the politics of exclusion.”

The May Day rally, which traditionally draws hundreds of Filipino activists, will begin outside of LA Live at the corner of Figueroa and 11th at noon on Sunday, and will spill into the streets of Downtown LA throughout the day.

In recent years May Day has become associated with immigration reform, but with so much at stake in the November election, advocates are going back to its labor movement roots, raising issues such as wages, wage theft and working families.

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