What is MAYDAY

May Day or International Workers' Day, also known as Labour Day in most countries, is a celebration of the working class that is promoted by the international labour movement. It occurs every year on May 1st. The date was chosen to commemorate the  Haymarket affair, which occurred in Chicago May 4th 1886. This day has its origins in the labour union movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest.

 

The May Day Organizing Committee is a grassroots, ad hoc group of activists mostly coming from unions and other community and advocacy organizations who come together to continue the tradition of May Day in Edmonton by organizing a rally and march and other events that highlight the current context for workers in Alberta and beyond and build solidarity between ongoing struggles for the rights and wellbeing of working people.

 

For example, last year’s march took place shortly before the provincial election and with the federal election on the horizon, and served as an important opportunity to defend workers rights and the rights of all in the face of the austerity agenda of the Harper and Prentice governments. The 2014 May Day march took place in the midst of the historic victory of Alberta workers against the repressive bills 45 and 46 and bills 9 and 10, which had sought to attack workers rights and pensions. Other past marches have sought to build solidarity with movements defending workers rights and the rights of all, including advocating for the rights of migrant workers, the Idle No More movement, or mobilizations of students defending their right to access post-secondary education.

 

By keeping our focus on current and urgent struggles in defence of workers’ rights and the rights of all, the May Day Organizing Committee ensures that Edmontonians have an opportunity to build on the living legacy of May Day as International Workers’ Day.