In Quebec, and increasingly so in Ontario Canada it is celebrated with marches, demonstrations + events by many labour unions, socialists, anarchists + anti Globalization activists. Indeed in recent years it has started to be treated as a protest day for the labour unions and Occupy Movement in many North American cities both across Canada and in the United States, especially since the 2008 Economic Crisis. As far as a public holiday goes, both countries officially celebrate the more moderate and toned down Labour Day holiday which is pointedly not on May 1st.
May Day's origin dates back to a traditional pagan spring celebration, later co-opted by Christianity, commercial + local cultural groups into a wide range of indirectly related festivities, in many different countries around the world.
Perhaps it is time for us to reclaim May Day as an Independent Labour Union Day, rather than just honour the officially co-opted government designated Labour Day holiday? With the austerity measures and attacks on organized labour increasingly spreading and taking hold across North America, it is important to let everybody know that we, as unionists, are taking a stand and mobilizing for the good fight. As teachers it is important for our fractured teacher union movement to reorganize and work to reestablish our solidarity with one another. Also with the other labour unions in pursuit of the common good of all workers and the disadvantaged, in the social justice and political fight that looms in the days, weeks, and indeed during the years ahead.
It is in this spirit that wish you a Happy May Day 2013!
Here's an excellent resource link for the history of Canadian and international labour + working class history to use at school or home. Very comprehensive + tres cool @ Working history
Here's a cross Canada directory of Restrictive labour laws. Yes Bill 115 is there as well as a search engine + many many more cases @ labourrights.ca
Here's a compendium of news + photos showing how May Day is being celebrated as a day of marches and protests in other countries around the world @ May Day! May Day!
May 1 2013 Paris France!
As of 10 am this morning I am not aware of any teacher affiliate or labour union statements or media links about today. I stand to be corrected and/or will add these if/ when they become available. Meanwhile there some other excellent links below for those of you in Toronto or Sarnia where a number of other groups are organizing events.
Rhythm of Resistance begins drumming and street dancing in the downtown Toronto during rush hour today to celebrate. Sounds like a party! Meet at old city hall at 5:15. Details @ Resist!
OCAP [Ontario Coalition Against Poverty] will lead a poor peoples march to protest at Porter and then help build a "Solidarity City". Throughout the next week there will be more activities. Join the "Poor Peoples History of Downtown Toronto" guided tour on Saturday. See the documentary film festival on "fighting cuts", one a historical piece about the Harris Years, next Tuesday. OCAP is no bars hold radical grassroots Toronto protest group. Nobody will be into backing down or seeking collaboration with the local authorities. Look for some real excitement and adventure.Keep up to date with OCAP using Twitter hashtag is #May1TO. Visit their site @ Could be a riot!
The M1M [May 1st Movement] Canadian Manifesto and declaration of the aims and goals for Solidarity City is @ Manifesto
More on worker power + Solidarity City from the Toronto May 1st Movement @ Solidarity City
KW [Kitchener Waterloo] Peace, a social activist group is seeking your help to launch a May 1st email and twitter campaign demanding Premier Wynne raise the minimum wage @ KW Peace
Here's how May Day is being celebrated with a living labour street museum in Windsor Ontario. Relive historic speeches, marches, protests + join in labour sing songs where workers were arrested. Participants are encouraged to dress in period piece costumes. There is also a follow up party on Sunday. Never a dull moment @ Windsor
Fun + Pride: The Windsor Star reports the May Day celebration was a peaceful + popular event that emphasized the cities rich labour history. Photos and news report @ living labour street parades
Many local groups across Ontario are helping organize and educate the increasing number of low paid temporary workers so they aren't being exploited by their employers. These workers often fall "beneath the radar" of the large unions and national media. Read the story @ Rabble.ca
No fun but good tunes: 300 Montreal protesters were detained in a May Day "anti capitalist march" on the private exclusive "357c" business + political club cited in a recent corruption inquiry. A brass marching band also "kettled" along with street dancers, continues to play while protesters lead away one by one into police buses @ 300 detained