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AFL-CIO Now

May Day: Workers' Rights Must Be Universal

Today, working people around the world are celebrating May Day, International Workers’ Day. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says the message around the globe is:

Workers’ rights should be universal and every person—no matter what nationality, ethnicity or gender— must have equal rights and the opportunity to achieve a better life.

He says this May Day is marred by “a group of special interests—the 1%—who seek to divide and weaken the collective power of working people.”

They are trying to limit the freedom of working people to vote or to join together in a union at the workplace or to live without fear of harassment or discrimination—whatever their national origin.

Click here for his full statement.

International Labor Organization ( ILO ) Director-General Juan Somavia says on this May Day, the continuing economic crisis is “hitting workers hardest” and economic policies of the past decade “have downgraded the meaning of decent work.”

In too many places we have lost the basic notion that labor is not a commodity. So, this is no ordinary May 1. It comes at a time when deep-rooted interests are pushing to go back to business-as-usual, arguing that this is just another crisis that can be solved applying the same old recipes. It is not.  

Click here to read more from Somavia.

Today at AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C., May Day will be marked with a special discussion to a highlight the challenges and conditions of Latina and immigrant workers in the United States and recognize women who are organizing internationally to find a voice, stand up and demand a stop to exploitation and unequal working conditions.

The event is sponsored by the AFL-CIO, the Labor Council on Latin American Advancement ( LCLAA ), the Coalition of Labor Union Women ( CLUW ) and the AFL-CIO's  Solidarity Center .

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