May Day is for the Children: Celebrate International Workers’ Day

May 1, 2023 | PDA News

by Debra Schrishuhn


PDA stands in Full Solidarity with the Labor Movement—Join with Us!


I confess, when I think of May Day the first thing that comes to mind are children making and giving May baskets filled with spring wildflowers. Perhaps it is because I am a Midwesterner, and Illinois winters are fitful and harsh. The first blooming snowdrops, spring beauties, Dutchmen’s breeches, violets, and even dandelions are welcome signs of gentle weather to come—before the searing heat and stifling humidity of Midwestern summers.

My favorite remembrance of May Day is this photograph of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt accepting an elaborate May basket from two little girls, and that brings us to the progressive notion of May Day, or International Workers’ Day, celebrated on May 1st around the world.

The Labor Movement not only brought us the weekend, as union organizers often remind us, but also brought protections and curbed exploitation of children in the workplace with the Fair Labor Standards Act, passed in 1938. Since 2021, those gains are in jeopardy with 10 states introducing or passing laws rolling back protections for underage workers. Child labor in meatpacking and manufacturing venues is increasing, even as serious violations of existing child labor laws are rising, most impactful on Black, brown, and immigrant youth.

We have been heartened by recent Labor victories for Starbucks and Amazon employees, teachers, and other workers standing up for their rights. Now we must fight against the weakening of child labor protections (in the name of increased profits), and reclaim May Day for children.

Sign Up for PDA’s Economics and Labor Issue Organizing Team ( and find out about actions you can take individually and how we can work together to make life better for all of us, but especially for the children.

Can’t volunteer? Then please give all you can to help PDA support the labor movement.

In solidarity with workers and children,

Debra Schrishuhn for the PDA National Team