(The Nation) — In light of efforts to strip public employees of collective bargaining in Wisconsin and the anti-union bills introduced in at least twelve states, planned May Day protests have taken on a new, more significant meaning this year. Events will focus on the customary issues of workers’ and immigrants’ rights, but also collective bargaining, and budget and pension cuts that affect not just the working class but their families and communities, as well.
Downtown Los Angeles will be filled with protesters this Sunday in what has become an annual pro-immigration reform march. California is known for its legendary May Day protests. In 2006, a quarter of a million people poured into the streets of San Jose in what is known as the largest political demonstration in Northern California history. That year, the protest was centered on the Illegal Immigration Control Act, which would have criminalized undocumented immigrants. The protest effectively stopped the bill in is tracks, according to Mercury News.
This year, activists will be calling on President Obama to stop deportations and provide “legalization or no re-election,” says Celina Benitez of Southern California Immigration Coalition. SCIC is also protesting in solidarity of all workers’ rights to organize.
Wisconsin’s May Day march will of course be focused on union busting, but also keeping in-state tuition for immigrant students, opposing Arizona-type legislation that targets immigrants, and preventing budget cuts.
The event is sponsored by the immigrant rights organization Voces de la Frontera with support and mobilization efforts coming from a variety of unions, including: Wisconsin’s AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Teachers Local 212, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) in Wisconsin, the Painters and Allied Trades Local 781, Service Employees Local 1, and more unions.