Full announcement from May 1 rally below:
A festive rally and march will be held at Pack Square Park from 4pm-6pm on Tuesday, May 1st in solidarity with the international celebration of May Day, or International Worker’s Day.
Organizers of the event, a coalition of labor groups and activists, are calling for a general strike on May Day to bring attention to North Carolina’s labor laws. “This rally is being held to bring attention to the fact that employers can legally fire employees without cause in North Carolina, with certain limited exceptions,” says Kila Donovan, one of the march organizers. Noah, an area activist, adds, “Not only do we live in times where labor has lost much it has gained, we are tricked into thinking that non-citizen workers are the problem. In reality, they face even less protection from exploitation by employers.” “When you don’t have papers they give you too much work for too little pay” says Osvaldo Solis, a worker detained in the Shogun Buffet Raid last year. Organizer Saro Lynch-Thomason also noted, “We also want to bring awareness to the rights that North Carolina workers do have- including the right to strike, complain to one’s boss and petition concerning working conditions.”
Workshops and tabling will begin in Pack Square Park at 4pm, followed by a rally with speeches and music at 4:30pm. The march will commence at 5:00pm, move through downtown and circle back to Pack Square for an open-air potluck and a celebration of spring. The march and rally are festive, family-friendly events, involving live performance, drumming and a brass band. As a celebration of autonomy and empowerment, attendees are encouraged to bring a self-made flag or make one at the rally.
May Day was the first labor holiday in the United States, created by a coalition of anarchists in 1887. The day marks the beginning of strikes for an 8-hour work day in Chicago in 1886. Five labor activists were accused of violence during these strikes, and executed by the state of Illinois, prompting the formation of International Worker’s Day in commemoration of their deaths. International Worker’s Day is now celebrated the world over, most popularly in Greece. France and Italy.