Friday, April 17, 2009

May Day Information

May 1, 1886, became historic. On that day thousands of workers in the larger industrial cities poured into the streets, demanding eight hours. About 340,000 took part in demonstrations in Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Baltimore, Washington, New York, Philadelphia, Boston and other places. Of these nearly 200,000 actually went out on strike. About 42,000 won the eight-hour day. Another 150,000 got a shorter day than they had had before.

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International Workers' Day was founded for the struggle for something we take for granted - the 8 hour work day. Back in 1884 a general strike was called for May 1, 1886. This work was done by groups of workers in the US and included a large number of immigrant workers. Moderate labor organizers worked with the bosses and had the first monday in September declared "Labor Day" in order to seperate themselves from those who fought for the 8 hour day, women's equality, equality for immigrants, and other ideas.

So as history has it - May 1 as a labor day started in the US by a diverse group of men and women from many countries - immigrants - is recognized around the world except here.

A friend from Mexico pointed out that red and black are "strike" colors. For those who died for me to have an 8 hour work day, weekends, and so much more wear red and black on International Workers' Day. Respect the calls for peace that the organizers of the event in Albuquerque and still honor those who have fought and died for workers' rights in all countries.

Thanks to all who have organized for Primero de Mayo now and in the past!!

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