May 1st, 2015 is a special day for many people around the world in all parts of the world. For us here at Southwest Workers Union (SWU) and in solidarity with social movements from all over the world we celebrated International Workers Day.
International Workers' Day, also known as Labour Day in some places, is a celebration of laborers and the working classes that is promoted by the international labor movement, anarchists, socialists, and communists and occurs every year on May Day, 1 May, an ancient European spring holiday. The date was chosen for International Workers' Day by the Second International to commemorate the Haymarket affair, which occurred in Chicago on 4 May 1886. This Day has its origins in the labour union movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest.
This years march was well attended with over a 150 people marching. Starting at Milam Park / Plaza Del Zacate, we headed towards the SWU office stopping in three strategical spots. First stop being the Alamo, a symbol of colonialism and slavery. Next being the Torch of friendship, where we chanted towards the Mcdonalds, We don't want Burgers and fries, we want our wages super sized! In solidarity with the fight for $15 movement. Next we passed in front of the Hyatt where workers are currently in negotiations for better working conditions. When we reached our ending point, we rallied in the Roots of Change garden and read the May 1st declaration that was put together during our Workers Assembly on April 25th and previous actions from years before. The day was beautiful, the energy was wonderful and the evening brought the perfect sunset to the end of our rally.
Leading up to the march, SWU had a few events to bring attention to the relevant issues that are expirienced in San Antonio, in Texas, in the United States and World Wide. One of the first events we had was a Workers Assembly on April 25.
The assembly is the space to begin alignment, movement, and understanding of our current reality. We invite workers to share thoughts and experiences to create change for living wages.
We talked about the current food, economic, education and health systems that are not designed to benefit us-the poor working class. We discussed formats to govern ourselves and the systems needed for our communities to grow and prosper. The attacks on our community takes many forms. SWU and its members understand that organizing is diverse and developing these systems has many faces. formats and levels. In order to respond, resist and win, we will need more than one strategy, a public infrastructure that grows youth and builds a base of community leaders with political analysis and organizing skills.
To have a living wage if you live in Travis County you would need to make $42,000 a year for a house hold of 3 and a 2 bedroom apartment.
To have a living wage if you live in Bexar County you would need to make $34,880 a year for a house hold of 3 and a 2 bedroom apartment.
April 26 was the Know your rights as a worker workshop. Workers discussed their rights and were consulted by attorneys concerning work related issues.
April 29 SWU attended The No fast track for the Transpacific Partnership protest in front of the federal Building and then later that day we protested in Solidarity with #Baltimore in honor of Freddie Gray.
We find there are many intersections in our movements wether it be workers rights, human rights enviromental rights and migrant rights. Please join us next year for the 10 year anniversary of the San Antonio MayDay march.