May Day being commemorated in the U.S.

By Monica Moorehead
April 24, 2023

A number of U.S. cities are gearing up for May Day (International Workers Day) 2023 with actions that highlight labor struggles, especially those involving young workers organizing at Starbucks and Amazon. But May Day is about much more than workers who are carrying out dynamic organizing campaigns. It encompasses the entire global working class, including oppressed sectors — people of color, migrants, women and gender nonconforming workers, prisoners, youth, students, disabled people and more.

These upcoming May Day actions are another important reminder that society cannot run without the labor power of the working class, which is constantly superexploited for profits (aka surplus value) by greedy capitalist bosses.

In New York City, the New York Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, December 12th Movement, New York Coalition of Labor Union Women, Teamsters Local 808, Workers Assembly Against Racism, Workers World Party, Laundry Workers Center, the International Action Center, the International Working Women’s Day Coalition and others have called a May Day action calling for “Solidarity with Workers Everywhere.”

May Day will kick off Monday, May 1, at Union Square in Manhattan with a 2 p.m. rally, followed by a 5 p.m. march. Political themes include: Stop union busting; support for migrant workers; the working class has no boundaries; and negotiate fair contracts at Amazon, Starbucks, Trader Joe’s, Rutgers University and everywhere.

In Boston, a coalition of many groups is holding a protest on May 1 at the Parkman Bandstand in Boston Common at 5 p.m. with five demands: 1) Immediate and permanent legal residence and a pathway to citizenship for all migrants who live here. Driver’s licenses for all undocumented Massachusetts residents! 2) Stop arrests, detentions and deportations of undocumented migrants. End the raids and release all detainees being held on immigration charges now!

The Boston coalition also demands: 3) No to border walls, militarization of the border and criminalization of migrants! Massachusetts must become a Sanctuary State. No to laws that criminalize undocumented workers; 4) Equal rights for all workers now! Equal pay and working conditions for foreign-born and native-born workers. No firings based on immigration status. Jobs for all at a livable wage as well as public housing, health care, childcare, education and other vital social services! and 5) May 1, International Workers Day, must be recognized as a national holiday.

May Day 2021, Philadelphia. WW PHOTO: Joe Piette

In Philadelphia, a May 1 march initiated by ANAKBAYAN-PHL and Workers World Party-Philadelphia, and co-sponsored by Black Alliance for Peace, Philly Boricua, Party for Socialism and Liberation, Worker’s Voice and other groups will be centered in West Philadelphia. The march will start at 5 p.m. at UC Townhomes (40th and Market streets) and stop at various targets before ending at 33rd and Spruce streets.

Stops include Campus Apartments at 41st and Walnut streets, owned by gentrifier David Adelman; Wharton School, 39th Street and Locust Walk, where both former-President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden have historic ties; University of Pennsylvania student high-rise residences, where resident advisers are unionizing; and the LOVE Sculpture, to speak on Palestine, China and other international issues,

Other stops include UPenn Law School near 34th and Sansom streets, to target professor David Skeel’s policies of the Fiscal Control Board that exploit Puerto Rican people; UPenn Hospital, where medical residents are unionizing; and Penn Museum, that allowed professors to use human remains from the 1985 MOVE bombing in classes.

The march route will also stop at a Philadelphia Starbucks where workers have been organizing.

A BBQ May Day activity will take place in Buffalo. New York, organized by Workers World Party, Sunday, April 30, 12 noon until 6 p.m. at LaSalle Party. A program from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. will feature speakers discussing local class struggles, including Starbucks and tenant organizing.

A May Day event will take place in Cleveland April 30 at 2:00 p.m., with a Workers Assembly and Picnic at Euclid Beach Park, located at 16301 Lakeshore Blvd. Among participants will be residents of the Euclid Beach trailer park fighting to save their housing.

Steve Gillis, Martha Grevatt, Joe Piette and Arjae Red contributed to this article.