Malden Activists Among Hundreds Participating in May Day Demonstrations in Chelsea, Everett
The following was submitted by MASSUniting
EVERETT, MA – Hundreds of immigrants, union members and community allies – including dozens from the Malden area – braved steady rain for a May Day march for workers’ rights.
Under the shared banner of “We are workers! We are immigrants! We are the 99%!,” the thirteenth annual event showcased an emerging coalition of Bay State immigrant and worker advocates united in the fight for good wages, safe working conditions and dignity in the workplace.
“One hundred years ago, thousands of men, women and children walked out of the mills in Lawrence to demand justice – and they won,” said Massachusetts State AFL-CIO President Steve Tolman, who keynoted the massive rally in Everett. “Today is no different. We stand together for justice. We stand together to challenge a system that isn’t working. We stand united in the fight for all workers’ rights – and together we will win!”
With roots in the American struggle for the 8-hour work day, International Workers Day (also known as May Day) is celebrated in more than 80 countries around the world as a day to commemorate the ongoing fight for workers’ rights.
Today’s Boston-area celebration came as corporate and political interests continue their assault on workers’ fundamental rights in Wisconsin, Ohio and other states.
“Make no mistake about it, American workers are under attack – whether public sector or private, immigrant or natural-born,” said Gladys Vega, executive director of the Chelsea Collaborative. “Today, labor unions and immigrant groups marched hand-in-hand to show that we are united in the fight to protect our rights.”
Dozens of community groups – including Chelsea Collaborative, Chinese Progressive Association, City Life/Vida Urbana, Jobs with Justice, La Comunidad, Massachusetts AFL-CIO, MassUniting and Neighbors United for a Better East Boston – marched a more than 3.5 miles in steady rain from East Boston to Chelsea to Everett, where a mass rally was held at Glendale Park.
Among the crowd were hundreds of low-wage workers – many of whom are in the midst of local battles for better wages and working conditions.
“I marched today in support of my fellow airport workers who are struggling to make ends meet on minimum wage,” said Milka Santana, a customer service representative at Logan Airport. “We work hard every day to support our families. We pay our fair share in taxes. But like so many in the 99%, we are in the middle of a hard fight to get better wages and hours.”
Throughout the day, community leaders drew inspiration from the 99% movement – which aimed to expose the individuals and institutions whose actions prompted the global economic collapse. Several laid the case out in plain terms, calling on elected officials to put an end to the scapegoating of low-wage and immigrant workers.
“Workers didn’t create the economic crisis we are in – it was the Wall Street banks and corporate lobbyists that got us into this mess,” said Antonio Amaya, executive director of La Comunidad. “The first step to a real economic recovery is to put the blame where it belongs and get our leaders refocused on building a stronger working class movement that benefits everyone in Massachusetts.”