Great dangers and even greater opportunities: May Day 2024

May 1, 2024 | PDA News

 Today Is International Workers’ Day


Shaun_Fain_ceasefire_UAW_250.jpgProgressive Democrats of America extends a big International Workers’ Day shout-out to our activists and supporters around the county and worldwide. First, we want to recognize the bravery of thousands of students at hundreds of colleges who are protesting and asking the university authorities to divest from war and to stop their complicity in the killing of civilians in Gaza.

With the national elections looming in just 6 short months, Donald Trump indicted and on trial in New York, President Biden’s continuing support of the right-wing Netanyahu government’s genocidal war on the Palestinian people, and heightening tensions both in Ukraine and in the Middle East threatening wider regional wars, certainly gives this May Day a time for real pause.

On this May Day 2024, we would like to salute the members of the United Auto Workers and its leader Shawn Fain. In a recent article in In These Times Fain talks about the history of May Day and challenges all of us, as union members and progressive activists, to be preparing now for 2028. Organize now he says, get ready and circle May Day 2028 on your calendar, as a General Strike may be on the horizon.

Excerpt from an article by Shawn Fain President of United Auto Workers:

May Day has its roots right here in the United States – in 1886, in the streets of Chicago, where workers were organizing and fighting for the 8-hour workday. This demand was met with brutal resistance by employers who used both vicious mercenaries and the police to violently suppress mass protest led by unions.

Now, about 138 years later, May Day is celebrated as an official holiday in countries from Argentina to South Africa to Sweden to Hong Kong, just about everywhere except its country of origin.

We want to ensure our contracts expire at midnight on April 30th, 2028, not as symbolic gesture, but as a rallying cry. We’ve asked other unions to join us in setting their contract expiration dates to May Day 2028 in hopes the labor movement can collectively aspire to building the power needed to change the world.”

“If working people are truly going to win on a mass scale – truly win health care as a human right, win pensions so everyone can retire with dignity, with an improved standard of living and more time off the clock so we can spend more of our time with our family and friends – then unions have to start thinking bigger.

As working people, we must come together. We can no longer allow corporations, politicians, and borders to divide us. It’s time we reclaim May Day for the working class.

We in PDA strongly believe great dangers and even greater opportunities are ahead, so in the spirit of solidarity with the American labor movement and millions in the International working class we pledge to organize and work to create a better world, and as Shawn Fain says, We will reclaim this day – May 1st – for all of us.

In solidarity,

Dan O’Neal for the PDA National Team