On May 1, 1886 a general strike was called in the United States at a time when the right to organize and strike did not exist.
A peaceful mass meeting at Haymarket Square in Chicago that followed was broken up by the police and led to the hanging of four labour leaders.
All these events sparked the declaration of May 1 as an international day to commemorate workers’ struggles.
One hundred and twenty eight years later, workers are still fighting for the right to organize, to bargain collectively and to strike. The recent attacks on workers by federal, provincial and municipal governments as well as other employers tell us that we must stand our ground.
Workers across the country are facing a wave of anti-labour reforms, laws and initiatives that aim to lower wages, take away pensions, and weaken health and safety protections.
These measures put our constitutional rights in jeopardy. Ongoing and unprecedented cuts to public services are eliminating thousands of unionized public service jobs and taking away vital supports to citizens. The impact on communities is devastating.
On May 1, 2014 the PSAC pledges to redouble our efforts to expand public services for the benefit of all Canadians, and to continue to fight for better working conditions for our members and all workers.