USW Activists Take to the Streets on May Day to Honor Global Labor Movement

Members of the USW and the greater labor movement took to the streets May 1 to rally and march for global economic and social justice on International Workers’ Day.

From Pittsburgh to Los Angeles, activists stood side-by-side with immigrant organizations to declare that all workers deserve respect and dignity on the job, and that in the union, everyone is in.

Jessica Ríos Viner, member of USW Local 3657, serves as president of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), a constituency group within the AFL-CIO.

Each year, she organizes the Pittsburgh May Day rally and march through the busy downtown area with help from the Thomas Merton Center, Casa San José, and the Pittsburgh chapter of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA).

“No matter the color of the hands covered in dirt of the people working next to you, you have way more in common with them than you have with your boss,” Viner told the crowd of nearly 400, which included a horn section, university and library workers, grad students, baristas, striking journalists, families, and children.

For Viner, who proudly hails from Puerto Rico, the saying “We’re stronger together” is about the kind of solidarity that extends even beyond the labor movement.

“We’re all one human family,” said Viner. “All across the world people have the same needs: job security, living wages, safe workplaces, healthcare, and respect. We have to have each other’s backs.”

Sabrina Liu, who works in the USW Strategic Campaigns department, leads the Pittsburgh chapter of APALA and helps organize the annual march. She noted that May Day is also the first day of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month.

“Our struggle is interconnected, and it takes all of us standing together to make our communities better,” said Liu, who migrated to the United States from Taiwan.

Xochitl Cobarruvias, chief of staff of Local 675 and active member of LCLAA in Los Angeles, also joined a diverse coalition in Hollywood to honor workers around the world on May 1.

“This day is a day of pride,” said Cobarruvias. “A day that we, as workers, immigrants and the community, should be proud of.”

The May Day holiday began to commemorate the fight for the eight-hour day in the 1880s as well as the lives of the campaign’s organizers who were executed in the wake of the 1886 Haymarket Affair.

Click here to learn more about LCLAA and how you can get involved.

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