Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Labor Advocates Promote Other Worker Events In Addition To May Day Marches

Parker Miles Blohm
Thousands marched on May Day 2017 through downtown Seattle. Events in Seattle were largely peaceful with few arrests.

Local May Day marches have sparked some tension in recent years, but labor groups want to emphasize the day's historical roots. May 1 is International Workers Day. 

"I think there's a misconception that May Day is about anarchists rioting," said Lynne Dodson, secretary treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council. "May Day is about fighting for workers' rights."

The Labor Council is also promoting a series of other events under the banner of MayWorks. There are book readings, film screenings and even a "Labor Hootenanny" in Fife to celebrate the intersection of labor and music.

"It really is a celebration of the work that we all do whether we're in unions or not in unions," Dodson said. "We're still working people who are trying to make our lives better, and culture has a big part of that.

Seattle City Council Member Teresa Mosqueda is also promoting a series of events called LaborWeek.

It begins Monday night with a "Labor Town Hall." It includes a screening of the film Dolores, a documentary about the life and work of Dolores Huerta. 

Mosqueda says she also plans on incorporating labor history into the City Council workers' rights committee meeting Thursday. Mosqueda is the chair of that committee.

"You'll see us reflect on the farmworkers struggle, looking at what in happened in the last two years with women and people of color and immigrants taking to the streets to stand up for human rights," Mosqueda said. "We'll also be talking about how to apply those lessons from history to today's efforts to expand labor protections."

Tuesday's annual labor and immigration march and rally  in Seattle are scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. in Judkins Park. It will end around Second Avenue and Spring Street. Marches are also expected in other parts of the region.

A Seattle native and former KNKX intern, Simone Alicea spent four years as a producer and reporter at KNKX. She earned her Bachelor's of Journalism from Northwestern University and covered breaking news for the Chicago Sun-Times. During her undergraduate career, she spent time in Cape Town, South Africa, covering metro news for the Cape Times.