I hope everyone had a good Spring holiday. Our Chaplain, Isabel Baker, has now become Ordained making it easier to assist in hospitals, jail or assisted living. She is doing a great job and can help anyone in need of her services. It is also time to start putting in your Local Demands. Forms can be found in the Work Center and also turned in there. The deadline for accepting demands is May 31st.
A holiday coming up soon is May Day. May Day is celebrated May 1st and is considered International Workers Day, and to some Americans, considered the true Labor Day.
In the United States, May 1st commemorates the Haymarket Riot (or Massacre). During the Industrial Revolution, many workers (men, women and children) were suffering. Fourteen-hour days, poor conditions, low wages, and death on the job topped the laborers’ outrage. The AFL proclaimed eight hours constituted a legal day’s labor, and a fight for better conditions, including an eight-hour day, ensued. Labor organizations encouraged workers to strike and demonstrate.
On May 1, 1886, more than 300,000 workers - 40,000 in Chicago alone - walked off of their jobs. More workers joined in the following days. Overall, the protests were peaceful, but on May 3, police and workers clashed. On May 4, a rally at the Haymarket Square was held to protest the killing and wounding of several workers by the police. A bomb was thrown toward the end of the rally, killing seven police officers, eight civilians and wounding many more. Despite there being no solid evidence against anyone, eight men labeled anarchists, were convicted of the killings in a sensational and controversial trial. A jury that was considered to be connected to Big Business saw that four of the defendants were hanged.
In order to downplay the history of powerful labor demonstrations and the cause for workers’ rights, two presidents (Grover Cleveland and Dwight Eisenhower) have redefined Labor Day as the first Monday in September. But it is our duty not to forget the Haymarket Massacre, and the many rights workers have won due to organization and solidarity. Please wear red to show solidarity on May 1st to honor the sacrifices of the many workers who helped you receive the benefits you get.
Another holiday to mention is Memorial Day (May 17, 2019), honoring the men and women who died in order to give us the freedoms we have. Whether you visit a parade, a gravesite or veteran family members, please show support for the great sacrifices given and always thank anyone who served. Please look at your UAW Information Boards for events and Information that you may want to participate in or would find helpful.