‘May Day’ Protests Are Coming, And The Alt-Labor Movement Looks To Capitalize

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Ted Goodman Contributor
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Hundreds of thousands of service industry employees and dozens of anti-President Donald Trump groups are planning a massive strike May 1, the day set aside by socialists and communists as International Workers Day.

Over 300,000 food chain workers and 40,000 unionized service workers plan to walk off the job, according to a Buzzfeed News report. The effort is being led by a powerful California chapter of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and represents one of the first attempts by big labor to respond to Trump’s shocking victory in November. (RELATED: Big Labor Curtails Spending As It Braces For Trump Presidency)

David Huerta, president of the SEIU’s United Service Workers West, understands the risk many of its members will be taking when they walk off the job May 1. He insisted to Buzzfeed News that members are willing to take that risk in order to protect the most marginalized under Trump.

SEIU’s United Service Workers West is widely recognized as a robust chapter with a history of leading labor advocacy efforts. The group was behind the “Justice for Janitors” movement in the early 1990s, scoring a big victory for California janitors. The tactics learned during those efforts are mirrored by labor groups and activists to this day.

While big labor is reportedly “driving the effort,” increasingly powerful non-union workers groups, or “alt-labor” groups,” are throwing their resources and memberships behind the strike.

The Food Chain Workers Alliance (FCWA) announced its plan to participate May 1, as did the Restaurant Opportunities Center United (ROC United).

“Donald Trump’s dangerous attacks against food worker families and all marginalized people continue a centuries-long history of oppression,” the FCWA said.

ROC United, which advocates for increased wages and improved work conditions for restaurant employees, was an integral leader in America’s last major general strike, which took place in 2006.

“We need to show this Administration, Congress and large corporate interests that our human and economic worth is more powerful than their agenda of hate and greed,” a statement announcing the strike said. “Opposing Trump is not enough. We must stop him.”

America’s last major general strike is widely recognized as the “Day Without Immigrants” strike in 2006.

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