May Day: Finding it’s Way Back Home

May 3, 2008
May Day: Finding it’s Way Back Home

Vol. 1,
Issue 8

goal of Labor Upfront is to provide members and friends with news,
information, and general ways to stay connected with the on-going
struggles of workers. You can also visit our
for further information on the stories in this newsletter and much more!
feel free to forward this to anyone
you feel may benefit, and if you received this from a friend,
e-mail to
join the list.

Labor Commission Chair

Melissa O’Rourke, Labor Commission Coordinator, Labor Upfront editor


May Day:
finding its way back home

Cananea, Mexico Strike Update
McCain a no-show on equal pay for

Over 80,000 petitions delivered to

Ohio Labor says
Jobs not War!

(still more needed!)

Day: finding its way
back home
By Scott Marshall
I’ve always wanted a button that reads,
“Workers of the
world unite, back by popular demand” — almost as long as I’ve wanted
one that says, “May Day, made in the USA.”

May Day 2008 would have been a great time for both.

Not that long ago labor activists had to struggle with a Cold War
mythology that had May Day as a creation of the Soviet Union. Back in
the late 1960s, my Steelworkers local union boldly, but nervously,
published an article I wrote titled after my button, “May Day, made in
the USA.” My local president asked, “Well, this is all true isn’t it?
It really did originate out of the Haymarket eight-hour-day protest in
1886, right? Samuel Gompers really did propose it to an international
labor meeting in Paris in 1889, right?” My president knew the history
very well, but wanted to be reassured and prepared.

This year, unions, central labor councils, labor history societies and
labor allies around the country joined with others around the world to
celebrate this true international workers’ holiday. And like the
original Gompers proposal, May Day is seen as a day of action, a day of
fightback. So this year the West Coast longshore workers took May Day
off to protest the war in Iraq, to demand fairness for immigrants, and
to demand a decent union contract in critical negotiations with
shippers and dock owners. Unions and labor councils around the U.S.
endorsed and supported the longshore action and added their voice to
this May Day call from labor to end the war.  Story continues here.

Editor’s note: Check out the coverage of May Day and other recent
events from our friends over at Willamette Reds.

to top

International Labor News
Mexico Strike

Workers hold fast – win court victory

Striking copper miners in Cananea Mexico scored a much needed victory
when Mexico’s courts overturned a previous ruling by the Mexican labor
board and declared the nine month strike by the miners union legal.
Grupo Mexico, the mine owners, is trying to end the strike by closing
the mines – but it is illegal under Mexican law to close a plant while
a legal labor dispute is going on.

Grupo Mexico has tried to buy off the strikers by offering large
severance packages to be allowed to close the mine. But the workers are
standing strong and refusing the buyouts. Grupo Mexico posted a $453
million profit in the first quarter of this year. Meanwhile
international solidarity is growing for the miners. And US unions, led
by the steelworkers, continue to build support in Congress to end
military aid to Mexico that can be used for the kind of union busting
violence used by police against the striking miners in Cananea.

to top

Labor News

McCain a no-show on
equal pay for women

By John Wojcik
GOP presidential candidate John McCain is saying it’s fine with him if
women never get justice for pay discrimination they suffer on the job.

Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama left their
campaign trails and flew to Washington April 23 to vote for the Fair
Pay Restoration Act. McCain didn’t bother to show up for the vote but
said, had he taken the trouble, he would have voted against it.

The Senate vote was four short of the 60 needed to advance the bill,
which would have allowed women who are paid less than men doing the
same work to challenge the discrimination. Unlike McCain, five
Republicans voted with Democrats 56-42 to move the bill to full debate
and passage.

“I am in favor of pay equity for women, but this kind of legislation,
as is typical of what’s being proposed by my friends on the other side
of the aisle, opens us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems,”

McCain said. He complained that the measure would mean “government
playing a much, much greater role in the business of a private
enterprise system.” Advocates for fairness on the job say that’s
exactly the point.  Story continues here.

to top

Over 80,000
petitions delivered to BK HQ

From the Coalition
of Imokalee Workers
After weeks of gathering petition signatures in communities across the
country, CIW members and allies prepared to deliver their urgent
message of reform to Burger King headquarters in Miami.

But first, the day broke with shocking news as residents of Ft. Myers
— the Gulf Coast city across the Everglades from Miami — awoke to a
front page story about the widening ‘dirty tricks’ scandal linked to
Burger King Vice President Steve Grover. The Ft. Myers News-Press
article, ‘Burger King VP puts self on grill’ (4/28/08), details the
harsh and libelous online campaign against the CIW, its allies, and the
Campaign for Fair Food.

The breaking story — which spread rapidly through an AP wire story,
‘Farmworker advocates to present Burger King with petition’ (4/28/08)
— even landed Grover on the popular MSNBC news program ‘Countdown with
Keith Olbermann.’ As part of his recurring series, ‘Worst person in the
world,’ Olbermann awarded Grover a bronze medal for ‘anonymously
trashing farmworkers and using his daughter’s online ID to do so.’

The CIW’s call was backed by allies representing nearly 85,000 (84,952,
to be exact…) Fair Food activists from across all fifty U.S. states
and forty-two countries. Here South Florida AFL-CIO President Fred
Frost stood in for more than 10,000 signatures collected by the AFL-CIO
nationally and pledged the continuing support of the nation’s largest
labor federation to the Campaign for Fair Food.

to top

Labor Says:
End the War!
Rebuild the Economy!

Make 2008 Elections count!

– From a letter from Ohio trade unionists
Resolution on the 2008 Elections and the War in Iraq
Whereas, the AFL-CIO, on the national, state and local levels, as well
as the Change to Win unions, is officially on record as being opposed
to the war in Iraq; and polls continue to show that 70% of the American
people, including union members, believe the U.S. never should have
gone to war in Iraq and should bring our troops home; and
Whereas, the two Democratic candidates for President, Senators Obama
and Clinton, share labor’s opposition to the war, while the GOP
candidate, Senator John McCain, supports the war and President Bush’s
military policy; and

Full text of resolution can be found here.

to top

Union Jobs (We need more

We’ve gotten an increasing number of responses in the call for union
job listings, more than we can list anymore. For the sake of space and
ease, we’ll list cities and industries, and for further information
please contact me,
Chicago: IBEW: further info is available at

Chicago Education-to-Careers:
Dallas: Jobs at IBT and UAW represented facilities

There is also a website, that
lists union
jobs, including staff, trades and apprenticeships, by state.

Keep them coming!!!!
  In an effort to assist young
workers in finding decent-paying union jobs, I’m requesting that anyone
who knows of job openings or apprenticeships, in all fields and across
the country, please forward that information to

To remove your name from our mailing list, please e-mail

We welcome questions, comments and stories for our next
.  Send them to us at
or call (773)
446-9920, ext. 212.



Related Articles

For democracy. For equality. For socialism. For a sustainable future and a world that puts people before profits. Join the Communist Party USA today.

Join Now

We are a political party of the working class, for the working class, with no corporate sponsors or billionaire backers. Join the generations of workers whose generosity and solidarity sustains the fight for justice.

Donate Now

CPUSA Mailbag

If you have any questions related to CPUSA, you can ask our experts
  • QHow does the CPUSA feel about the current American foreign...
  • AThanks for a great question, Conlan.  CPUSA stands for peace and international solidarity, and has a long history of involvement...
Read More
Ask a question
See all Answer