May Day, also called Workers’ Day or International Workers’ Day, the day commemorating the historic struggles and gains made by workers and the labor movement, is observed in many countries on May 1. May Day is an official holiday in 66 countries and unofficially celebrated in many more, but ironically it is rarely recognized in the country where it began, the United States of America. The connection between May Day and labor rights began in the United States. During the 19th century, at the height of the Industrial Revolution, thousands of men, women and children were dying every year from poor working conditions and long hours. However, the US resistance to celebrate May 1st as Labor day stems from a resistance to emboldening worldwide working-class unity, historians say.
The day celebrates reform and revolution, political discussions, petition, unionization efforts, and economic advancement. Every year there is a different theme selected, however in 2022 no new theme was selected, instead the 2021 theme will continue, “Maintaining safety and security at the workplace” to raise awareness about the Coronavirus pandemic.
The need for unions rose as an effort to correct this imbalance in leverage, and unions played a key economic role for much of the 20th century. Having a union means having democracy at work. Without a union, decision-making is top-down, and the employer has all the power. With a union, workers will have the power to negotiate with the employer as equals, work under a contract that helps guarantee the worker’s rights, and elect those who will help them represent themselves. Unions secure wage increases, better access to health care, workplace safety enhancements, and more reasonable and predictable hours therefore reduce inequality, close pay gaps, and they make democracy work by getting more people into the process and helping advocate for the positions that the working class supports. Through collective bargaining negotiations, the union also works with management to develop a process for settling disputes that employees and their managers are unable to settle individually. Unions, they help balance power in our economy and democracy.
IADC believes all people deserve the opportunity of upward mobility and a fair economy that works for all of us. We view it as critical to this mission that we support the right of workers to unionize, receive a living wage, adequate paid family leave, and have access to resources and social services that provide them with a vital safety net.
We further believe that our economy is only as strong as the diversity that it enjoys. We will advocate for policies that protect minority-owned and small businesses, stop the monopolization and control of the economy by the big corporations, and guarantees everyone, especially the richest 1%, pay their fair share of taxes.
We salute the efforts of the employees at a Starbucks store in Minnesota which become the first in the state to unionize followed by twenty Starbucks stores across the country that have now unionized. Around 220 Starbucks stores have sought elections, with more added every day. To do our part individuals need to stand with striking workers, amplify their demands, donate to strike funds when you can, and never cross a picket line!