The first organized U.S. May Day strikes occurred on May 1, 1886, when more than a quarter million U.S. workers walked off their jobs demanding an 8-hour workday. Chicago strikes erupted into what have become known as the Haymarket riots in which eight police officers were killed. No official number of dead strikers was released, but organizers estimated that seven or eight strikers were also killed.
The date has long been a rallying time for labor activists and 2017 is no exception. U.S. labor groups seeking higher wages, union representation, and other benefits have called for a mass general strike across industries throughout the country.
May Day is also focusing on immigrants this year as thousands are expected to take part in a “Day Without Immigrants” strike.
Restaurant worker, particularly in the fast-food industry, have for several years now been waging a battle to increase the U.S. minimum wage to $15 an hour. A particular target of the “Fight for $15” movement is McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD). The “Fight for $15” group is planning a protest the company’s Chicago-area headquarters for May 23, the day before the fast-food giant’s annual shareholders’ meeting.
“Fight for $15” has also posted a guidebook for those planning to participate in the May Day actions around the country. Here are the list of Do’s and Don’t’s:
- Notify your boss that you are striking
- Tell your boss the reasons you are going on strike
- Print and deliver a strike notice to your manager
- Strike over conditions in your workplace
- Recruit your co-workers to go on strike with you
- Ask friends, family, and supporters to walk you back to work on May 2nd
- Say you are striking to protest Donald Trump, ICE, or other political issues
- Criticize your employer’s products or services
- “Sit-in” or hold an action inside of your workplace
- Block the entrance or exit of your workplace
- Go back to work without a supporter, ally, or co-worker
For more information, visit the “Fight for $15” strike-guide webpage.