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Dave Montgomery, President of CUPE 1001, the union representing maintenance, custodial, food services, grounds and housekeeping staff at the University of Windsor · Photo by Darryl Gallinger Dave Montgomery, President of CUPE 1001, the union representing maintenance, custodial, food services, grounds and housekeeping staff at the University of Windsor · Photo by Darryl Gallinger

Int’l Workers’ Day; a labour of love for workers and artists

Darryl Gallinger
News Editor

This year, a few horses will be leading the parade through the downtown core for International Workers’ Day, a.k.a. May Day.

Following the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s announcement to shut down the slot machines at the Windsor Raceway, the Ontario Harness Horseman’s Association organized a rally outside Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan’s office on March 30.

Members of the labour movement came out to the rally to express their support for the cause, and Mark Williams, the Director of OHHA for southwestern Ontario hopes to thank them when he speaks on May Day.

May Day is a workers holiday celebrated internationally. In North America, Labour Day is recognized as the official workers’ holiday, but some workers still choose to observe May Day because of its historical importance to the labour movement.

This holiday is a commemoration of the 1886 Haymarket Massacre in Chicago, where workers agitating for labour reforms were fired upon by police officers after someone threw a dynamite bomb at them. In the ensuing trial, eight anarchists were tried for conspiracy.

Local activists and union members will be gathering on Tuesday, May 1 to celebrate May Day with a few speeches, a march, and a music show afterwards at FM Lounge.

Gabriella Sasso holds onto Putnam for Katie Sulatycki and Becky Stuh

Gabriella Sasso holds onto Putnam for Katie Sulatycki and Becky

 

“May Day is important to me because it’s an international workers’ holiday; Labour Day is North American. Capital is going worldwide… and the international workers’ holiday is the same concept,” said Mike Longmoore, a volunteer organizer for May Day.

This May Day has special significance to Longmoore, who pointed out that CAW Local 444 will be present this year after a long absence from celebrating the holiday. “Something is starting to hatch here,” said Longmoore. “Economic events are driving the labour movement to seek new answers.”

Windsor Workers Action Center President Paul Chislett addresses the crowd.

Windsor Workers Action Center President Paul Chislett addresses the crowd

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