May 6, 2017 - No. 16
Photo Review -- May
Their Achievements and Set Their Direction for the Coming Year
• Workers Celebrate Their Achievements and Set
Their Direction for the Coming Year
• Revitalized May Day Actions Defend Immigrant
Rights and the Rights of All
Around the World
• Militant Affirmation of Rights and
Across Canada and Quebec
Workers Celebrate Their Achievements and Set
for the Coming Year
May Day 2017 in Canada and Quebec was marked by
actions in various sectors to highlight the struggles
they are facing and call for the unity of workers to act as a
powerful force in defence of their rights and the rights of all.
As well, at annual May Day marches and social and cultural events
throughout the country, working people expressed their
aspirations for peace internationally and condemnation of
imperialist intervention, opposition to efforts by the ruling
elite to divide the working class and demands for people's
empowerment and a new direction for the economy.
Halifax held its 10th annual
May Day rally and march since
the event began to be celebrated anew in that city in 2007.
Participants included contingents of postal workers and public
service workers as well as local anti-war, anti-imperialist
In Montreal, workers gathered in Côte-des-Neiges,
home to many national minority workers, and called for an immediate
increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour, changes to labour laws to
benefit workers and status for migrant workers. Prominent
in the rally and march were paramedics, who have been on strike
throughout Quebec since March, and striking steelworkers from the
Samuel et Fils steel distributor who are taking action in defence
of pensions. Another Montreal demonstration was
organized by the anti-capitalist convergence, and was again this
year attacked by police who carried out arrests and used violence
against participants. TML Weekly condemns this state
repression against protestors.
In Quebec City, a rally and march issued similar calls
increase the minimum wage, and stopped at various workplaces
around the city to highlight the unacceptable conditions workers
face. Another rally in Trois-Rivières led by unions, student
associations and community groups called for increased wages and
was followed by a town hall meeting on the subject.
On April 30 in Dolbeau, Quebec, workers and community
held a march in defence of forestry jobs. The action highlighted
the important role of the forestry sector in the livelihoods of
the people of the region and demanded the federal government
stand up for forestry workers in the current efforts of some U.S.
monopolies to further concentrate ownership in that sector.
In Ottawa, workers at the Canadian Hearing Society
members of CUPE 2073 held a May Day rally at the office of Yasir
Naqvi, MPP for Ottawa Centre and Attorney General of Ontario. The
workers have been on strike for nearly two months, while the CHS
President and CEO received a 75 per cent pay raise, cut 28 per
cent of the organization's frontline staff and demanded
concessions from the workers.
Pearson International Airport
In Toronto, the annual May
Day march drew attention to the
dangers of war and featured messages of international solidarity
and defence of rights. Workers at Pearson
International Airport in Mississauga organized in the Toronto
Airport Workers' Council held a rally and march outside the
airport terminal. Speakers pointed out that with 40,000 workers,
the Toronto airport is among the largest single workplaces in
Canada, but only 1,200 people are employed directly by the
airport while the rest work for some 300 companies to which their work
out. Workers spoke against the airport "flipping" contracts
from one company to another, forcing the workers to re-apply for
their jobs at lower standards. A member of the International
Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers said the workers
are also organizing to oppose the Liberal government's proposal
to privatize publicly-owned airports throughout the country.
Hamilton steelworkers once again held an early-morning
Day rally at the gates of Max Aicher North America (MANA), a
German monopoly that locked out the workers when they
refused demands for brutal concessions in June 2013 and has since run
plant using scabs. Locked-out MANA workers -- who are members of USW
1005, were joined by the Local 1005 leadership, including
President Gary Howe as well as members from Stelco; workers from
National Steel Car, including the president of USW Local 7135
Steve Weller; the USW Area Council; CUPE; Ward 3 Councillor
Matthew Green; and McMaster University students.
The Windsor and District Labour Council held a Workers'
Dinner and Roundtable, hosted by the local Secondary and
Elementary Teachers' Federations. Local workers from various
sectors, including manufacturing, as well as education and postal
artists, students and other collectives shared their experiences
since the last May Day and brought forward their preoccupations
for the coming period. A representative of the Marxist-Leninist Party
Club in Windsor spoke on the importance of the working people fighting
for their rights as a first step to establishing a new political
process through which workers exercise decision-making power over the
direction of their societies.
Construction and building trades workers in Edmonton
mass rally on April 30 at the Alberta Legislature calling for the
provincial government to make changes to labour law to eliminate
measures restricting workers' right to organize and form a union.
Workers also called for laws to end "double breasting," the
practice of one owner establishing multiple companies in order to
subvert union workers. The next day, May Day rallies were held in
Edmonton and Calgary. Both took up questions of war and peace as
a crucial matter for deliberation of the working class, with the
Edmonton May Day Committee taking up the call to Make Canada a
Zone for Peace and not a base for aggression and war against the
peoples of the world who do not submit to U.S. dictate.
Members of the Hospital Employees' Union in British
held a province-wide May 1 day of action in support of
contracted-out food service and housekeeping workers currently in
negotiations with the monopolies Compass, Sodexo, Acciona,
Marquise and Aramark. Workers denounced the persistent practice
of switching contracts from one monopoly to the other in search
of the lowest bidder, leaving workers without a job and forcing
them to re-apply at lower standards.
The eighth annual May Day
Celebration and Banquet in Prince
George, BC featured large contingents of university, education,
food and restaurant, forestry and public sector workers from the
Prince George area, as well as the Mayor of Prince George and
three city councillors, students and other community members. The
event featured presentations, songs and discussion highlighting
the importance of workers' unity and solidarity. In Vancouver,
maritime transport workers, who are in action to oppose Canada's
neo-liberal free trade agreement with the European Union and the
Trudeau government's anti-people reforms to Canada's
transportation system, held a rally and march, later joining the
Vancouver District Labour Council May Day parade.
on Vancouver Island, workers held their third annual May Day
march, followed by the 20th annual May Day Bean Supper organized
by the Cumberland Museum and Archives and the Campbell River
Courtenay and District Labour Council. The annual dinner
commemorates a coal mine workers' walkout in 1912 over the firing
of the safety committee for reporting explosive gas. Striking
miners faced such destitute conditions that the government was
forced to send boxcars full of dried navy beans for them to
Local 1005 steelworkers in Hamilton hold picket at 6:00 am outside MANA
Toronto Airport Workers' Council rallies at Pearson International
Airport in Mississauga.
Construction workers "Unstack the Deck" rally at Alberta
Legislature on April 30 to demand changes to Labour Code clauses that
obstruct workers' right to organize.
Public service workers rally in Ottawa in support of striking workers
Canadian Hearing Society.
Windsor teachers and education workers host May Day discussion with
in various sectors.
Defending the Rights of All Working People
Contingent of workers from temporary employment agencies in Montreal.
Stop Paying the Rich! Increase Funding for Social
Our Security Lies in Our Fight for the Rights of All!
Make Canada a Zone for Peace!
Revitalized May Day Mass Actions Defend
Immigrant Rights and the
Rights of All
The significance of May Day in the lives of U.S.
renewed this year, as part of building united
resistance against the assault on workers' rights and attempts to
divide the working class by the Trump
Widespread mass actions took up the call issued by the Movimiento Cosecha
(Harvest Movement) for a "Day Without Immigrants" (Día
Inmigrantes), that called on immigrant workers to take part in
May Day by going on strike "for dignity, respect, and permanent
protection." Signs and slogans affirmed rights and the
indispensable role of these workers in the society and economy,
especially the agricultural and service sectors, where they are
notoriously exploited. Also seen were signs posted at
businesses that closed for May Day in support of the strike (la
Slogans such as "No Ban," "No Wall," and "No
Deportations" captured the defiant spirit of the day, with broad
participation in actions across the country. These May Day actions are
a significant rejection of attempts by ruling circles in the U.S. to
demobilize and depoliticize the workers, including the replacement of
May Day with apolitical Labour Day activities. News reports inform that
some workers have been subject to reprisal for their participation in
May Day and Day Without Immigrants activities. This must not pass!
These workers must be reinstated immediately.
This year's actions harken back to 2006 when workers
vigorously organized mass actions on May Day to affirm their unity and
put the fight for the rights of all front and centre.
TML Weekly salutes the U.S. workers for
tradition of May Day as a converging point for the defence of
rights and the International Day of Working Class Unity and Struggle.
The affirmation of U.S. workers as part of the
international working class is an important development at this time
conditions require that workers worldwide unite to take bold
stands to defend rights, oppose U.S. imperialist interference and
aggression, win political
power and create the conditions for international peace.
New York City
Green Mountain, Vermont
Grand Rapids, Michigan
St. Paul, Minnesota
Las Vegas, Nevada
Los Angeles, California
San Francisco, California
Around the World
Militant Affirmation of Rights and Sovereignty
Worldwide May Day actions were marked by bold actions
defend rights, affirm national sovereignty and ensure a peaceful
and bright future for the peoples in the face of neo-liberal
nation-wrecking, imperialist intrigues, aggression, occupation
In Havana, Cuban workers and youth marched militantly
Revolution Square behind a banner reading "Our Strength Is Our
Unity." President Raúl Castro and other members of the country's
leadership presided over the activities. Ulises Guilarte de
Nacimiento, Secretary General of the Cuban Workers Federation
(CTC) addressed the gathering. Granma reports:
"Fifty thousand youth led the parade of workers in the
capital on May Day which was dedicated to them this year, as the
present and future of the homeland."
"Cubans are motivated to march today by the
social conquests, its continuity into the future, and the
challenges of building a more just, prosperous, and sustainable
"Many generations of Cubans are coming out to pay
Fidel and to Che, on the 50th anniversary of his death in combat;
to defend the country's sovereignty, demanding an end to the U.S.
economic, financial, commercial blockade and the return of
territory illegally occupied by the Guantánamo Naval Base."
In Puerto Rico, May Day was marked by a national strike
reject U.S. oppression and the wrecking of the economy. Dr.
Héctor L. Pesquera Sevillano, Co-President of the Hostosiano
National Independence Movement said, "With the imposition of the
fiscal control board [in 2016], the U.S. Congress wants to
subject us to the most base conditions of existence, reminding us
that we are its colony."
In Mexico, workers demonstrated against the neo-liberal
reforms of the Peña Nieto government and the impunity in the
disappearances and murders of the Ayotzinapa 43 and many others.
At the U.S. embassy in Mexico City, people denounced the Trump
administration's proposed border wall and other attacks on the
In Tegucigalpa, Honduras, the main May Day rally was
addressed by former president Manuel Zelaya (ousted in a
U.S.-backed coup in 2009) where the main banner denounced foreign
interference in Venezuela.
In Colombia, workers expressed opposition to the
government's neo-liberal economic and labour policies and put
their weight behind the demand for the implementation of the
In Venezuela, on the eve of May Day, President
announced that the government is raising the minimum wage 60 per cent
and increasing food stamps by 15 per cent to protect workers from
the effects of the economic war being waged against the
Bolivarian Revolution by reactionary opposition forces as well as
the U.S. imperialists. Similarly, the country's three million
pensioners will receive a special bonus. Recent achievements of
the Bolivarian Revolution include the 71.9 million free medical
exams carried out since 2003 through the Barrio Adentro Mission
in cooperation with Cuba, as well as 1.6 million homes for the
poor built by the Great Venezuelan Housing Mission since 2011. A
mass May Day rally in Caracas affirmed these achievements and the
legacy of the late Hugo Chávez, as part of the revolutionary
forces' fight to win popular support and defeat the intensifying
attempts at counterrevolution.
In Brazil, May Day actions followed the massive April
national strike of some 40 million workers against the coup
government of Michel Temer, its brutal anti-people austerity and
profound corruption. May Day activities highlighted this historic
achievement -- the largest such mobilization ever -- and affirmed
the workers' and people's opposition to the coup government.
In Europe, the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain
(Marxist-Leninist), in its May Day statement summed up the situation
facing the working class of Europe and the instability and danger posed
by unfolding developments. The statement said in part:
"... the striving for empowerment of the working class
is what has always forced open the door to progress. Today, more than
ever, the working class continues to fight for an economy that provides
for all and for justice, peace and freedom. This is why the ruling
elite and their media are using this election, just as they used the
Referendum on Brexit, to push a massive disinformation campaign to
deprive the working class and people of their own outlook on the basis
of which they can find their bearings and make an advance."
The Trades Union Council held its May Day demonstration
in London, England, with calls to defeat the Conservative government of
Theresa May in the June 8 election. Union centrals and collectives of
workers took part in large May Day rallies and marches throughout the
On May Day in Syria, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA)
reported that workers reiterated support for the Syrian Arab
Army's heroic sacrifices through their determination to keep up
production despite the circumstances. The continuity of work and
production sends a powerful message that terrorists will never
win or undermine Syrians' willingness to defend the homeland,
said the workers. The General Federation of Trade Unions, and the
Labour and Social Affairs Ministry, in cooperation with all
ministries and governmental bodies concerned are doing their
utmost to bolster the steadfastness of the working class and
guarantee workers' rights in the public and private sectors so
they can perform their duties to the fullest extent and
contribute to the process of rebuilding their country, SANA
stated. Chairman of the General Federation of Trade Unions Jamal
al-Qaderi hailed the workers' steadfastness amidst the economic
war, unjust sanctions and devastation to the factories and
infrastructure. The National Leadership of the Baath Arab
Socialist Party issued a statement stressing that Syria's workers
have always been the main pillar for development and a symbol of
sacrifice, with a rich history of heroic struggle side by side
with farmers and other classes in Syrian society.
In Vietnam, celebrations were held to mark May Day as
well as the 42nd
anniversary of the Southern Liberation and National Reunification Day
(April 30, 1975), that also marks the historic victory of the
Vietnamese people over the U.S. imperialists.
In south Korea, workers held mass actions amidst
the political crisis following the impeachment of former
president Park Guen-hye and broad opposition to the U.S.
imposition of its terminal high altitude area defence (THAAD)
missile defence system that is part of the nuclear arms race to
aggress the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), China
and Russia. Meanwhile, across the DPRK, workers took time off and
held political, cultural and athletic events at their places of
work where they were joined by senior Workers' Party and state
officials. This air of calm, despite the histrionic threats being
issued by the U.S. imperialists, reflects the confidence of the
workers in their own achievements through their political unity,
steadfastness and industriousness under the leadership of the
Workers' Party, that has built a modern society that provides
the material conditions to guarantee the rights of all and the
means to keep the U.S. imperialists at bay.
Latin America and the Caribbean
San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Salvador, El Salvador
Porto Viejo, Ecuador
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Benin City, Nigeria
Capetown, South Africa
Lugansk, Lugansk People's Republic
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Vinh Linh, Vietnam
Cebu City, Philippines
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