Labor and Immigration Groups Unite For Historic May Day Rally

We are the power!

On Saturday, May 1 in lower Manhattan, close to 10,000 people took part in a rally for labor and immigrant rights. Organized by the Coalition for Labor and Immigrant Rights & Jobs for All, the protest’s more than 70 endorsers included the PSC, UFT, NYSUT, Laborers, Teamsters and UFCW locals, DC37, Local 1199, SEIU 32-BJ, TWU Local 100, Taxi Workers’ Alliance, Left Labor Project, WFP, NAACP, NY Civic Participation Project, NY Immigration Coalition, Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights, and a range of local organizations in immigrant communities.


Who We Are
We are united—the employed and the unemployed, the documented and the undocumented, the organized and the unorganized, the people of diverse races and ethnicities who live and work in New York City. We are the members of scores of labor unions, immigrant rights organizations and community groups. We are the great working-class majority.

Why We March on May Day
On this day of international solidarity among working people and of traditional struggle for immigrant rights, we celebrate our roots in the struggle for justice. May Day recalls both our immigrant histories and the ongoing struggle for the rights of working people. We are marching on May Day as workers have marched on this day since 1886, when laborers, immigrants, artisans and merchants in Chicago waged a general strike to win the eight-hour day. Our demand today—for the rights of immigrants and workers—is as urgent and transformative as their demand for the eight-hour day.

In 2010 we are facing the most acute economic crisis in our lifetimes for the working-class majority. The recession has led to a new wave of austerity policies for working people, as the banks are bailed out using our tax dollars, while jobs and vital public services are being destroyed.

The current immigration policy is bankrupt. And the economic crisis has had a devastating impact on immigrant communities. In a city built by immigrant labor and continually renewed by fresh immigration, that devastation hurts us all.

Today we announce our commitment to fight the austerity imposed on the great working-class majority.

We call for a radical shift of economic and political policy in the interest of working people—all working people.

What We Demand
1. We will fight paying for a recession we did not create.
We will fight having the budget balanced on our backs.
We will fight allowing Wall Street to pay huge bonuses when the banks were bailed out with our tax dollars.
We will fight the disparity between the rich and the poor, which is greater in New York than in any other state.

  • We demand an economic policy in the interest of the working-class majority.
  • We demand that all workers have the right to unionize and bargain collectively.
  • We demand the right to a voice at work.

2. We will fight a jobless recovery.
We will fight 10% unemployment in New York State.
We will fight 46% unemployment of African-American men in New York City.
We will fight working more and earning less.

  • We demand jobs for alL
  • We demand jobs with fair pay, not poverty wages.
  • We demand no layoffs.
  • We demand that federal stimulus money be used to save existing jobs as well as to create new ones.

3. We will fight racist attacks on immigrants.
We will fight the scapegoating of immigrant Workers.
We will fight workplace raids.
We will fight excluding the undocumented from healthcare, higher education and a path to citizenship.

  • We demand full rights for immigrant workers
  • We demand humane and comprehensive immigration reform that includes rights to healthcare, legalization, citizenship and higher education.
  • We demand protection of the right of immigrant families to unity.
  • We demand pro-worker international trade policies.
  • We demand that New York be a safe place for immigrants, free from raids on homes and workplaces, and free from the deportation of families.

4. We will fight the destruction of public services and the communities they support.
We will fight the use of this recession as a rationale to dismantle the public sphere and deepen the impoverishment of the working class.

  • We demand no cuts in public services.
  • We demand that every public school be a great school.
  • We demand reinvestment of public funds in New York’s public colleges and universities.
  • We demand restoration of mass transit and free travel for students.
  • We demand that New York City and State close budget gaps through progressive taxation, not through attacks on workers and destruction of public life.

5. We will fight an economic policy that starves working people and redirects billions of dollars to the banks and the cost of foreign wars.
We will fight the failure to provide adequately for healthcare, employment and education of veterans.

  • We demand that our city, state and country build our way out of this crisis, not try to cut our way out.

Another economic policy is possible—

  • one that supports rather than destroys the lives of the working-class majority,
  • one that supports rather than attacks the traditional source of New York’s wealth—immigrants.

That’s the policy we demand on May Day.

Barbara Bowen addresses the rally