Washington, D.C. (May 1, 2017) – Terry O’Sullivan, General President of LIUNA, the Laborers’ International Union of North America, today made the following statement on International Workers’ Day:
As we mark the May Day Holiday, it is time to reflect on the struggles that gave birth to the Labor movement and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the battle for dignity and justice while also re-dedicating ourselves to win justice and basic rights for all workers.
The Haymarket Uprising in May of 1886 in Chicago was a turning point in the Labor movement and in our nation; marking a point when workers of all creeds united together as one to win their rightful place in our society. On that fateful day in Haymarket Square some workers and police were tragically killed in the violence and chaos.
Workers stood fearless and united against tyranny and greed to win better working conditions. Many of the men and women who gathered in the square that day were immigrant workers. They came to America filled with hope and eager for opportunity. And, once here they fought for a better, safer, more dignified way of life.
Today, an increasing number of workers in America are just like those of Haymarket, whether immigrants who are here seeking a better life or native workers who are struggling just to hold on.
Then as now, workers face the same greed and immorality. And, the most vulnerable workers, immigrants, often find themselves targeted with the most vicious abuses of their rights as workers. And, it is the politicians and their special interest backers who have failed to fix our flawed immigration system, who are answerable for the pain and hardship they are wreaking not only on America’s newest immigrants but on all working people; for in denying any class of people their basic rights and subjecting them to exploitative conditions, it is an injury to all.
LIUNA has been a tireless advocate for fair and just comprehensive immigration and we will continue that fight; recommitting ourselves to a movement that never backs up and never backs down in the fight for civil rights, human rights, workers’ rights and union rights.
The half-million members of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – are on the forefront of the construction industry, a powerhouse of workers who are proud to build America.