International Workers’ Day is a celebration of the international labour movement that occurs on May Day, May 1, a traditional Spring holiday in much of Europe. May 1 is a national holiday in more than 80 countries, and celebrated unofficially in many other countries. In some countries the public holiday is officially Labor Day while in others the public holiday marks the traditional Spring festival known as May Day.
In 2006, May 1 was chosen by mostly Latino immigrant groups in the United States as the day for the Great American Boycott, a general strike of undocumented immigrant workers and supporters to protest H.R. 4437, immigration reform legislation which they felt was draconian. From April 10 to May 1 of that year, millions of immigrant families in the U.S. called for immigrant rights, workers rights and amnesty for undocumented workers. They were joined by socialist and other leftist organizations on May 1. On May 1, 2007, a mostly peaceful demonstration in Los Angeles in support of undocumented immigrant workers ended with a widely televised dispersal by police officers. In March 2008, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union announced that dockworkers will move no cargo at any West Coast ports on May 1, 2008, as a protest against the continuation of the Iraq War and the diversion of resources from domestic needs. For May Day 2010, marches were being planned in many cities uniting immigrant and native workers including New York, San Francisco, Boston, Albany, Chicago and Los Angeles most of whom protested against the Arizona Senate Bill 1070.
On May 1, 2012, tens of thousands marched in the streets of New York and around the US to commemorate May Day as the worker’s holiday and to protest the dismal state of the economy, the growing divide between the rich and the poor and the status quo of economic inequality. Members of Occupy Wall Street and labor unions held protests together in a number of cities in the United States and Canada on May 1, 2012 to commemorate May Day.
Raising the Minimum Wage to $10.10. As he said in his State of the Union speech on January 28th, President Obama will continue to call on Congress to pass the Harkin-Miller plan to raise the Federal minimum wage for working Americans in stages to $10.10 and index it to inflation thereafter, while also raising the minimum wage for tipped workers for the first time in over 20 years. The President knows this is important for workers and good for business.
- A better bargain for the middle class
- Remarks by the President on Minimum Wage
- FACT SHEET: Opportunity for All – Rewarding Hard Work
4/30/14 The Senate GOP blocks the Minimum Wage Boost
Did You Know That Women Are Still Paid Less Than Men?
On average, full-time working women earn just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. This substantial gap is more than a statistic — it has real life consequences. When women, who make up nearly half the workforce, bring home less money each day, it means they have less for the everyday needs of their families, and over a lifetime of work, far less savings for retirement.
President Obama supports passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, a comprehensive and commonsense bill that updates and strengthens the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which made it illegal for employers to pay unequal wages to men and women who perform substantially equal work.
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is legislation proposed in the United States Congress that would prohibit discrimination in hiring and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity by civilian, nonreligious employers with at least 15 employees.
ENDA has been introduced in every Congress since 1994 except the 109th. Similar legislation has been introduced without passage since 1974. The bill gained its best chance at passing after the Democratic Party broke twelve years of Republican Congressional rule in the 2006 midterm elections.In 2007, gender identity protections were added to the legislation for the first time. Some sponsors believed that even with a Democratic majority, ENDA did not have enough votes to pass the House of Representatives with transgender inclusion and dropped it from the bill, which passed the House and then died in the Senate. President George W. Bush threatened to veto the measure. LGBT advocacy organizations and the LGBT community were divided over support of the modified bill.
In 2009, following Democratic gains in the 2008 elections, and after the divisiveness of the 2007 debate, Rep. Barney Frank introduced a transgender-inclusive version of ENDA. He introduced it again in 2011, and Sen. Jeff Merkley introduced it in the Senate. President Barack Obama supports the bill’s passage.
Statement by the President on Senate Passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013
November 07, 2013
For more than two centuries, the story of our nation has been the story of more citizens realizing the rights and freedoms that are our birthright as Americans. Today, a bipartisan majority in the Senate took another important step in this journey by passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would help end the injustice of our fellow Americans being denied a job or fired just because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Just as no one in the United States can lose their job simply because of their race, gender, religion or a disability, no one should ever lose their job simply because of who they are or who they love.
Today’s victory is a tribute to all those who fought for this progress ever since a similar bill was introduced after the Stonewall riots more than three decades ago. In particular, I thank Majority Leader Reid, Chairman Harkin, Senators Merkley and Collins for their leadership, and Senator Kirk for speaking so eloquently in support of this legislation. Now it’s up to the House of Representatives. This bill has the overwhelming support of the American people, including a majority of Republican voters, as well as many corporations, small businesses and faith communities. They recognize that our country will be more just and more prosperous when we harness the God-given talents of every individual.
One party in one house of Congress should not stand in the way of millions of Americans who want to go to work each day and simply be judged by the job they do. Now is the time to end this kind of discrimination in the workplace, not enable it. I urge the House Republican leadership to bring this bill to the floor for a vote and send it to my desk so I can sign it into law. On that day, our nation will take another historic step toward fulfilling the founding ideals that define us as Americans.