Workers all around Bay Area hit the streets Saturday to celebrate International Workers’ Day or May Day.
May Day 2021 calls for a different agenda, a tribute to the workers lost to the COVID-19 pandemic and demanding better labor rights.
A drumbeat could be heard on Market Street, with union workers marching to celebrate the day.
“Because we fought to have rights and work eight hours,” said Monique Brown.
Brown, a Carpenter from Richmond, had a job through most of the pandemic, says she’s marching for those who could not.
“I’m glad everyone pulled together and helped those who weren’t able to work, hopefully things will get better,” said Brown.
May Day celebrates International Workers and their fight for an eight hour work day, going back 100 years. This year, May day has greater meaning.”
“It’s been challenging. Many workers have lost lives doing what they do, many workers laid off,” said Joseph Bryant, president of SEIU Local 1021.
Many labor unions are demanding the passage of Protecting the right to Organize or PRO Act to help empower workers to negotiate better wages. They also call for President Biden to extend the $15 minimum wage not just to Federal workers.
“We’re asking for fifteen dollars to be the base it’s still not a living wage for this country, that’s not too much to ask,” Tefere Gebre, Executive VP, AFL-CIO.
The march ended at civic center with speakers taking the stage.
In Oakland, several workers celebrated May Day with a car caravan, taking the issues of worker’s rights and racial injustice to the streets.
“Our theme is uniting low wage workers at the same time protecting against police violence,” said Cheri Murphy from Gig Workers Rising.
Meanwhile, in San Jose, a march was made downtown, protesting income inequality and demanding better protections for essential workers.