UCWGA Honors #MayDay2020 with a Bike/Car Caravan

On May 1, 2020, UCWGA joined with other Georgia unions and workers in a car and bike protest demanding worker protections, expanded health and unemployment benefits, rent freezes, and the release of prisoners in jails and immigration detention centers. Over 100 cars participated in the caravan alongside dozens of bicycles!

Our KSU chapter was represented by several members who decked out their cars in protest signs and drove along with the caravan chanting and honking horns. For those who could not make it in person for health or safety reasons, there were ways to follow the day's events by listening to our local community radio station, WRFG 89.3FM through an expanded program of the WRFG Labor Forum. Others who were not physically at the caravan protest supported the effort by posting pictures on social media with their signs

Many reported feeling more connected and hopeful after the protest. It was a beautiful and powerful response after many weeks of being kept in the dark about decisions made by the government and our employers. Workers and the growing ranks of unemployed folks came together to push forward a collective agenda. While we have much work in the weeks, months, and years ahead to figure out how to create a university system that serves students and workers fairly, the creativity in the way we came together while embracing concerns about health on May Day gave us evidence that we are well prepared to create the kind of world at work and beyond that we want to live in.

May Day has been celebrated as International Workers’ Day for over 100 years around the world. The origin of the day goes back to the demand for an 8-hour work day in the United States. After much protest and organizing, early labor unions proclaimed that after May 1, 1886, a normal day of labor should be only 8 hours long. Protests after this date were met with increased state repression and even killings of protesters and labor organizers. However, ultimately, the persistence of the protesters was successful! So successful that now we consider an 8-hour day a universal standard. Workers around the world continue to celebrate this day and use May Day as a moment to stand together for increased worker protections and control of our lives and work. 

For folks interested in staying connected with broader labor and social justice issues during this time, we recommend the Haymarket Books sponsored video series. Also, in celebration of May Day, Haymarket Books is offering significant discounts on books about labor, which our members may be interested in. If you read anything that you think is interesting, drop us a note and let us know (ucwga [dot] ksu [at] gmail)! On a related note, please keep your eyes open for an upcoming book and study club!