Celebrated each year on May 1, International Workers’ Day is more than just a Spring Labor Day. Also known as May Day, International Workers’ Day commemorates Chicago workers demanding better conditions and an eight-hour workday.
Although it is not officially recognized as a holiday in the United States, many organizers commemorate International Workers’ Day and the necessity of collective action.
Despite positive economic gains for the nation as a whole, Black workers continue to struggle compared to their counterparts.
With workers organizing across the country, the battle for better pay and treatment is just heating up. The recent union successes with Amazon several Starbucks locations unionizing could lead to increased interests in unionization.
Here are five worker-related stories to check out this International Workers’ Day.
New York Bill Could Improve Conditions For Amazon Workers
As reported by VICE, a new bill in New York could help address worker conditions in Amazon and other warehouses. News of increased injuries in Amazon warehouses due production quotas has raised concerns. The bill is similar to legislation passed last year in California.
Staten Island Amazon workers fired up the labor movement nationally after approving the first union in the company’s history. Occupational safety reports show that Amazon has a higher rate of injuries than other warehouses.
Black Worker Bill of Rights Rally
The National Black Worker Center and allies are holding a virtual rally to kick off a campaign demanding a Black Worker Bill of Rights. Hard hit during the pandemic, Black workers and their allies are seizing the opportunity to push for policies to disrupt generations of inequities. Anyone interested in attending can sign up here.
“Black workers are demanding a Black Worker Bill of Rights to undo the legacy of racism and intergenerational poverty,” tweeted the Joint Center. “Join in on the movement with Black workers at a virtual rally on May 2.”
Harris County Approves “Essential Worker Board”
Frontline workers in Harris County, Texas recently won a major victory. As reported by Time, the Harris County Commissioners approved a five-person member board that gives some of the county’s most vulnerable workers a say in health and safety decisions. (Read more here).
Black Women Best Report
Led by Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman and the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls, the Black Women Best report provides a comprehensive legislative agenda that will uplift Black women and their peers.
Informed by a framework developed by the Department of Labor’s Chief Economist Janelle Jones, Black Women Best is a blueprint for economic growth “that provides security and stability for all.”
As an economic principle Black Women Best “argues that when Black women’s economic well-being is centered in policy, the entire economy thrives.”
In a statement announcing the release of the legislative agenda, Watson Coleman noted the historic policy decisions that have led to Black women being at an “enormous” disadvantage across multiple indicators.
“While the Black Women Best agenda offers several important policy proposals, at its heart is the need to center policy on equity,” Watson Coleman said. “By centering policy discussions on the needs of Black women, we can bring parity in ways that benefit everyone.”
New Workers’ Anthem “Wurk”
Every movement needs good music. “Wurk” from southern rapper Linqua Franca’s new album “Bellringer,” could be the new jam you didn’t know you needed. The Athens, GA-based rapper, also known as Mariah Parker, wears many hats including serving as a county commissioner for Athens-Clarke County District 2.
Parker’s melodic flow intertwines with a familiar chorus for those who have ever attended a protest. “Which side are you on my people, which side are you on,” sings Parker.
Known to many across the labor and civil rights movements, “Which Side Are You On” originated as a song for striking coal miners in the early 1900s. Remixed several times over the years, it has also been used as a chant “Freedomside” at racial justice protests.
Watch the full “Wurk” video below:
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