On May Day 2018, activists honor migrant workers, call for better labor conditions
NEW YORK — On International Workers’ Day, or May Day, hundreds of people came together in Union Square to celebrate what they call the collective power of migrants and workers.
Their demands: better pay and better working conditions for all workers.
“There’ve been a lot of teacher strikes, a lot of fast woodworker strikes, a lot of healthcare worker’s strike, nurses and the technicians are severely underpaid,” said Mike Legaspi.
The current federal minimum wage in the US is $7.25.
For these workers, especially in New York where the current minimum wage is $10.40, the fight for at least $15 per hour wage continues.
“We don’t only want to fight for $15, we want to fight for livable wage and for worker control really,” said Legaspi.
Legaspi, who works as a micro cleaner for a heavily sanitized work environment such a medical labs, says these protesters are also fighting for the right to unionize.
“Unionizing is absolutely crucial, it’s the only way for workers to negotiate for our rights. In my workplace, it’s a little hard, we’re struggling to do it too, we want to encourage for every workplace to push for unionization, 1 and 2, make sure your unionization is genuinely pro-people and based on the workers.”
As workers across the US join various may day protests in other own cities, protesters here say today is not just about workers’ rights but it’s also a day of protest to resist President Trump’s anti-immigrant worker policies.
They are also here to hold him accountable for not draining the swamp – as he promised during his campaign.
“The Theme of May 1st this year, is fight together, strike to win, migrants and workers run the world, because we recognize the power of migrants, people around the world are rising up in the face of fascism, state repression especially in the Trump administration,” said Nina Macapinlac.
Organizers say May Day is a celebration of the working class. It is a day for the hardest working people to celebrate their existence – which they say is still denied in some workplaces.