In a major labor strike for an eight-hour work day, hundreds of thousands of workers across the United States began the first May Day labour celebration on May 1, 1886. The strike in Chicago remained peaceful for two days before violence between police and strikers caused death and injuries. Police brutality has been around a long time. This episode, known as the Haymarket Affair or the Haymarket Tragedy or the Haymarket Riot or the Haymarket Massacre, was commemorated three years later with the declaration of May 1 as an international labour holiday by the International Socialist Conference. It continues to be celebrated widely as International Workers’ Day.
Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! is an internationally recognized call for distress and meant to convey grave and imminent danger to a vessel at sea or in the air. Real (constant 1982-1984) average hourly earnings in the United States range from $9.21 to $10.75. Current national average hourly earnings range from $22.42 to $26.82. Looking at the Albuquerque Metropolitan Statistical Area, service sector annual salaries range from $19,762 in Food Services to $20,838 in Personal Care to $22,386 in Cleaning and Maintenance. A living wage for a family of four with one adult working is $25.41 per hour or $52,854 and $44,720 per year before and after taxes, respectively. If both adults work full-time, the living wage for a family with two children is $16.13 an hour or $67,112/$56,707 annually before/after taxes. Working families headed by those without college degrees or technical training are clearly under water. Educational workers ($45,008 average annual salary), office workers ($33,077), and construction workers ($37,392), as single parents with only one child ($51,514/$43,589 b/a taxes) are losing altitude.
Find a May Day march, rally, protest, or celebration and share your voice and presence in support of a living wage. Make noise for distressed workers at your city hall, state legislature, and congressional representatives’ offices. The Green Party supports a living wage for all workers and an increase in the federal minimum wage.