LOS ANGELES — The annual May Day rallies which commemorate International Workers Day, is taking a different route this year for its 20th anniversary.
“We are essential workers. Immigrants and workers keep this nation functioning. In the time of COVID-19, these are the types of crisis, and they also support us in prosperous times,” said Angelica Salas, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights Los Angeles.
“We must recognize us all as essential workers regardless of our legal status and respond to our needs especially in the health and economic emergency.”
Throughout the country, workers at retailers (including Amazon, Target, Whole Foods, FedEx, Shipt, and Instacart) staged a one-day strike, calling for hazard pay, no-test sick days, better protective equipment, and closures if locations are found to have coronavirus cases.
In large cities like Los Angeles, instead of the traditional massive street rallies, virtual protests were conducted throughout the day, while a few contingents held caravans, staying in their cars, spreading their messages to places like city halls and grocery stores.
While in the past several years May Day demonstrations have focused on immigrant rights, this year they zeroed in on the rights of frontline workers, which activists also pointed out, includes a large immigrant workforce.
Throughout the day, activists called for solutions to challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic such as the cancellation of rent, mortgage, and utility payments.
“We are demanding universal health care, we are demanding unemployment insurance, we are demanding paid sick days we are demanding. A social safety net that celebrates the communities in need at this critical time and we are all essential workers in May Day 2020 and we will all work together.”
Throughout LA county, conservative-led anti-lockdown groups rallied as well; organizing caravans, calling for shelter in place orders to be lifted, saying they want to get back to their jobs and businesses.