May 2, 2013
By Neal Tepel
New York NY – An historic coalition of labor, immigration organizations and occupy wall street turned out for this years' May Day celebration in remembrance of the eight-hour work day. Thousands of union members and those in immigrant organizations marched from union square to city hall. May day started in the United States in 1886, after dozens died when police tried to break up a public demonstration in support of a general strike for an eight-hour day. Corporations in the United States have ignored the value of human life going back to the Haymarket affair and the Triangle Shirtwaist
"In order to build an economy that works for all working people, we need comprehensive immigration reform and we must address wealthy inequity, said George Gresham, President of 1199SEIU. "Many of our members are immigrants who came to the U.S. seeking the American Dream, and they work hard every day emptying bed pans, changing dressings, administering medicines and caring for the sick and dying. While immigrants and all working people struggle to make ends meet, big banks and corporation CEO's are making billions and the stock market is soaring. This May Day, we are calling for a path to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented workers, good jobs for all working people, and for the one-percent to pay their fair share so we can invest in healthcare, education and the future of our economy."
"District Council 37 AFSCME stands shoulder to shoulder with our allies in the fight for comprehensive immigration reform," said Lillian Roberts, District Council 37 Executive Director. "We believe that the fight for immigrants rights is also the fight for civil rights and economic and social justice for millions seeking to make the dream a reality."
May Day becomes particularly important this year with the right to join a union and organize workers in the United States under attack. May Day serves as a reminder that human rights for all must continue to be a goal throughout the world as well as full employment.