International Workers’ Day and How It’s Observed in La Phoenikera

May 1, aka May Day is known to most of the world as Labor Day and officially, International Workers’ Day. The U.S. doesn’t celebrate it as such but actions are held in many places in the country, including La Phoenikera, to commemorate the occasion. Because of that, we figured we’d come up with a handy-dandy timeline of how May 1 became International Worker’s Day since Phoenikerxs don’t just live in the U.S. but also in the world at large, so it would serve us to gain some international knowledge. We also figured we’d let people know what is going on in La Phoenikera that day in case you feel compelled to be part of it.


May Day in the world

Late 1880s: Labor movements across the U.S. were strengthening their demands for shorter workdays without a cut in pay because they started asking for this since the 1870s and nobody was listening!

May 1, 1886: About 200,000 U.S. workers hold a strike to demand an 8-hour work day (how dare they?!).

Also May 1, 1886: There is a major union demonstration in Chicago in support of the 8-hour workday.

May 4, 1886: Demonstrations continue in Chicago and a peaceful meeting is held at Haymarket Square, but shit hits the fan. About 180 policemen show up to disperse what was left over of the meeting (a few hundred people). Unfortunately, a bomb exploded close to the policemen, wounding 67 of them and killing seven. Police retaliated against the peaceful protesters, killed some and wounded 200. This becomes known as The Haymarket Affair.

1889: The International Socialist Conference declared May 1 an international holiday for labor… International Workers’ Day, in commemoration of The Haymarket Affair.


May Day in the U.S.

1917: After the Russian Revolution, May 1 is declared “Americanization Day” in opposition to Communism (Remember, it was socialists who declared May 1 International Workers Day and in the U.S. socialist/communist, what difference does it make, right?).

1949: Americanization Day turns into Loyalty Day.

1958: President Eisenhower signs a resolution declaring May 1 Loyalty Day, “a special day for the reaffirmation of loyalty to the United States of America and for the recognition of the heritage of American freedom.” (Around this time is when the U.S. is freaking out about all things “Commie.” Remember the blacklist?)


May Day 2017 in La Phoenikera

Photo courtesy of Puente.

Puente Human Rights Movement and a coalition of organizations, including the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), Planned Parenthood Arizona, Living United For Change in Arizona (LUCHA) and environmental group CHISPA, among many others, are hosting a May Day march.

They are marching to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office 4th Avenue Jail to demand that new Sheriff Paul Penzone removes federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents (ICE) from the facilities.

Why an immigration-related march on International Workers Day you may ask? Maria Castro from Puente says “our communities are international workers and they deserve dignity and liberation. We will continue fighting until we have achieved that.”

It’s no secret that there is a significant undocumented workforce in our state. These workers sometimes put up with labor abuse such as unpaid wages, lower than minimum wage pay and long work hours without overtime pay. On top of that, they have to live with the fear of raids and deportation.


WHAT: Take ICE Out of 4th Avenue Jail March

WHEN: Monday, May 1, 2017, at 4 p.m.

WHERE: The march will start at the State Capitol, 1700 W. Washington St. Phoenix