The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 75/No. 19      May 16, 2011

Workers, youth join May Day
demonstrations across the U.S.
(front page)

HARTFORD, Connecticut—The Connecticut Laborers’ District Council sponsored an “Enough Is Enough” rally for workers rights at Bushnell Park here May 1. Some 2,000 people, a large majority unionists, attended.

The action was part of dozens of May Day demonstrations across the country, most of which featured demands for immigrant rights.

Hundreds of Laborers and Teamsters members were noticeable in their union T-shirts. Many rally participants said they were inspired by the workers’ mobilizations in Wisconsin, triggered by legislation outlawing collective bargaining by public workers on anything beyond wages.

Connecticut’s state government is in negotiations with unions representing some 45,000 state employees. Democratic governor Dannel Malloy is seeking $2 billion over two years in concessions from state workers.

Although the capitol was the backdrop for the rally, speakers did not talk about the union-busting attack on public workers. Instead, they focused on encouraging participants to vote for Democratic Party candidates in the 2012 elections.

Valrey Johnson, 56, a cook and union representative at Park Place Health Center nursing home here, was among the participants. She has been on strike for the past year, along with 400 other members of Service Employees International Union Local 1199 at four nursing homes in the area.

“We had no choice but to fight,” she explained. None of those who walked out have crossed the picket line.


A spirited march of more than 5,000 took to the streets here on May 1, International Workers Day. The marchers gathered in front of the offices of Voces de la Frontera (Voices of Border), the immigrant rights group that has organized May Day rallies for immigrant rights in Milwaukee since 2006.

This year’s march was cosponsored by the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO. Richard Trumka, the federation’s president, was the keynote speaker.

Workers chanted slogans in English and Spanish, including “We are one,” the slogan of the AFL-CIO campaign against the austerity and union-busting measures of Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, and “What do we want? Papers! When do we want it? Now!”

—Maggie Trowe

Los Angeles
Some 3,000 marched here in an action organized by the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition. “L.A. labor marches for immigrants, Wisconsin, and all workers. We are one, respect our rights,” said a call for the protest by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.

A couple dozen union contingents took part, including one with several hundred from the Service Employees International Union.

Airport workers and car washers, both fighting to organize unions, marched with the United Steelworkers contingent. “Many car washeros are working only for tips,” said car washer Andy Dominguez.

—Ellie García

San Jose, California
A coalition of unions and immigrant rights groups organized a march of more than 2,000 here May 1.

Sponsoring unions included United Food and Commercial Workers, Service Employees International Union, Communications Workers of America, and United Farm Workers.

Workers were there from the Justice for Mercado Workers Coalition. They are fighting for unionization and against firings at Mi Pueblo Super Market.

“The company fired 300 workers,” said Antonio Martínez, who was dismissed after two and a half years. “They won’t hire us back, but are keeping others with less seniority and pay. We want to help people still working there so they think about having a union.”

—Carole Lesnick

“If one is deportable, we are all exploitable,” read a banner leading a march here of about 1,000 from Union Park to Plaza Tenochtitlán in the predominantly Latino neighborhood of Pilsen.

The main demand was for a moratorium on deportations. Several carried handmade signs pointing to the million people deported during President Barack Obama’s tenure.

—John Hawkins

Madison, Wisconsin
Some 500 union activists, students, and other supporters of immigrant rights rallied here May 1 in Brittingham Park and marched to the capitol chanting, “An injury to one is an injury to all!”

About 60 laundry workers from Chicago came in a bus wearing yellow Workers United union T-shirts. One of those, Martha Caicedo, said, “We came to march for benefits for all workers. We all have been facing worse situations.”

Cops prevented farmers from joining the march with their tractors. “We need to build relationships between farmers and labor, this is not about Democrats or Republicans, it’s about the haves and the have nots,” said Joel Greeno, vice president of Family Farm Defenders.

—Laura Anderson

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Massachusetts Democrats push antiunion bill  
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