ITUC May Day Declaration 2009

Brussels, 30 April 2008 (ITUC OnLine): The world is facing its gravest economic crisis in over 60 years. Tens of millions of jobs are being lost due to the greed, plunder and incompetence which have, through decades of free market deregulation, led the world into deep recession. Global poverty and inequality are increasing fast, and working women and men everywhere face levels of insecurity unprecedented in recent times.

Trade unions demand far-reaching, urgent and coordinated action to pull the world out of recession. Governments must act to keep people in work and create new jobs, to avoid an even deeper and longer-lasting crisis. These actions are essential, but alone they are not sufficient.

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Workers and Immigrants Will March on May Day

Nativo Lopez-Vigil
National President Mexican American Political Association

Yes, workers and immigrants will march again throughout the U.S. on MAY DAY, May 1st. This is known as the International Workers’ Day, but little celebrated in the U.S., at least until the great diversity of immigrants took to the streets in 2006 to advocate oppostion to the anti-immigrant legislation HR4437, and subsequent years to advocate for fair and humane immigration reform. This budding movement of workers and families has resulted in reviving this important and historic date, recognized internationally in memory of the struggle for the eight-hour day more than one hundred years ago in this country. Ironically, it was immigrant workers of European origin who led the fight for reducing the work-day, establishing unions, and fighting to improve working and living conditions of the laboring classes.

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May Day Solidarity with Turkish and Iranian Workers

by Eric Lee

But before you celebrate May Day, please take a moment to help ensure that our fellow trade unionists in Turkey and Iran are allowed to celebrate too.

This year we’ve been asked by Turkish unions to send a strong message to their government demanding that they be allowed to peacefully celebrate the international workers’ holiday in Istanbul’s Taksim Square.  On May Day 1977, 37 trade unionists were killed there and efforts by unions in recent years to commemorate that massacre – and to demand justice – have been met by fierce repression.

We have only two days to get our messages to the Turkish authorities, so please click here and send your message now — and spread the word quickly to other members of your union.

Meanwhile, international unions have issue an alert regarding Iran, where union activists continue to face severe repression.  They are demanding that the government allow workers to peacefully celebrate this year.  You can sign up to that appeal here.

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May Day Events Across the USA

We thought Talking Union readers might be interested in May Day events.  We haven’t done a web search to dig up a comprehensive list.  Below the fold are events in Chicago, Boston, Kansas City and Sacremento, Twin Cities, and Ithaca.  If you know of others,  leave a comments or send an email to

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Put Single Payer in the Survey!

By Andy Coates, MD

In an attempt to find out what union members think about the health care crisis and its solution, the AFL-CIO recently asked union members and supporters to complete a health care survey.

The problem with the survey is that it does not present the full range of opinions union members have, and nowhere in the survey is single payer, or Medicare for All, or HR 676 even mentioned as an option.
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Baldemar Velasquez: Farmworkers need labor law protections

by Baldemar Velasquez

Baldemar Velasquez

Baldemar Velasquez

A Call to Wage a National Campaign for Farmworker Labor Rights

I agreed to be one of the original sponsors of the call to build this movement – not a call for specific legislation, i.e. NLRA – but rather to confront the historical racism inherent in the first call for labor legislation in the 30’s.

At a time when most of the farm workers in the Deep South were Blacks, the Dixiecrats that controlled Congress would never see blacks on an equal  field as their counterparts in other industries.   Every reform that’s been debated since has excluded farm workers, including the current drive over the Employee Free Choice Act.   Continue reading

Randy Shaw Responds to Michael Yates about the Chavez legacy and more

The UFW’s Powerful Legacy randyshaw

It is unfortunate that Michael Yates’ deep-seated hostility to Cesar Chavez and the UFW led him to so badly misrepresent my book, Beyond the Fields: Cesar Chavez, the UFW and the Struggle for Justice in the 21st Century. Yates not only misstates the book’s thesis, but he ignores the vast majority of the text; one would never know from his review that the book primarily focuses on how, more than forty years later, the spirit, strategies, and tactics of the UFW in its heyday still strengthen the U.S. labor movement, build Latino political power, provide a progressive grassroots electoral model and infuse a growing national campaign for immigrant rights.   Continue reading