Celebrating International Workers Day - May 1, 2012

Celebrating International Workers Day - May 1, 2012

It was on May 1st, 1886 that union pressure secured the eight-hour work day that had been sought for so long. Some years later, the proud memory of this day inspired Europeans to establish International Workers’ Day, which is celebrated in many countries.

For more than 100 years, International Workers’ Day has symbolized the many struggles of workers around the world. Traditionally, in many countries, this day is marked by parades and union meetings. This celebration is a reminder of the important workers’ social movement. These workers fought not only for better working conditions and higher salaries, but to eliminate discrimination, racism and the abuse of power in the work place. May 1st is therefore a date which calls for a pause to reflect and celebrate the many union victories over the past 120 years.

Here are some important reasons to celebrate International Workers Day :

  • To remember the people who were shot so we could have the 8-hour work day;
  • To acknowledge that homes with families in them were burned to the ground so we could have Saturday as part of the weekend;
  • To recall 8-year old victims of industrial accidents who marched in the streets to protest working conditions and child labour, only to be beat down by the police;
  • To understand that our current working conditions cannot be taken for granted;
  • To recognize the people who fought for the rights and dignities we enjoy today;
  • To recognize and honour the sacrifices of so many people which cannot be forgotten or we may end up fighting for those same gains all over again.

PIPSC representatives, including Vice-President Shannon Bittman (at right), join other labour movement supporters in this year's May Day celebrations in downtown Ottawa.

Publish Date: 01-MAY-2012 03:52 PM

Copyright © The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada