On May 1st, the International Labour Day for Workers, representatives from 13 labour unions, community organizations, and student groups joined MUNACA for May Day Solidarity at McGill. Celebrated as the official workers’ holiday in 80 countries, May Day is the commemoration of the forty-year struggle to establish the 8-hour day as the standard for workers which culminated in a general strike of over 300,000 workers on May 1, 1886.
In front of James Administration building, workers from MUNACA, AMUSE, AGSEM, McLIU, and student activists from Support Our Staff and QPIRG-McGill were joined in solidarity by members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Immigrant Workers Centre, AFPC-Québec, and Teaching and Research Assistants – Concordia, among others. Speakers called for an end to austerity measures by McGill administration and for an end to the attacks on public services by the provincial and federal governments, pointing to the dreadful consequences for unionized and immigrant workers, for students, for the unemployed, and for many other vulnerable groups in Montréal, in Québec, and across Canada.
Everyone shared delicious food served by Midnight Kitchen, and heard some music from Rick and Bob, two MUNACA workers who played music on the picket line in 2011. The skies were filled with grey clouds but thankfully the rain didn’t fall. The most stirring moments of the rally were the times when everyone grabbed a noisemaker or a pot and made beautiful and loud noise together. The message was simple: workers will not be silenced, whether it’s at our jobs or on our day of solidarity, May 1st.
The MUNACA Social Justice Committee would like to thank everyone who helped to make May Day Solidarity a fun and raucous time, especially those who came to Community Square in spite of the threatening skies. The list of people is really long, but special mention goes to MUNACA members, Debra Yee, Sherrie Child, Lisa Barrett, and Anne Avery. Thanks again for everything. We could not have done it without you.