May 1, International Day of Workers in Madison

Madison, WI) – In preparation for the May 1 the Immigrant Workers Union (UTI) will take a proposal to recognize immigrant labor in the region to the County on Thursday, April 19 at 7:00pm in Rm. 201 of the City-County Building. The immigrant community is looking to establish countywide recognition of the International Day of Workers (“el dia del trabajo”) by observing May 1 as a day where workers can celebrate the festivities honoring their contribution to the community.

The fight for immigrant rights heightens as May 1 approaches and immigrant workers face serious problems with the new April 1 implementation of Act 126, which requires legal residency to obtain a driver’s license in compliance with federal REAL ID Act. Calling for fair immigration reform for all immigrants, communities all over the country will organize marches on May 1. National pro-immigrant organizations have declared a Second National May 1 Boycott, calling for no working, buying, selling, or going to school. The boycott’s aim is to demonstrate that undocumented immigrants and their supporters are a vital part of the working class and the U.S. economy.

UTI is also asking Dane County Board to encourage businesses to arrange for workers to time off in order to participate in the events. The proposal would have Dane County join the international community in observing the day celebrated all over the world as the International Day of Worker’s Struggle and the 121st anniversary of the Chicago struggle for the 8-hour workday.

County Supervisor Ashok Kumar, is the lead of the resolution. If the resolution passes it will help in assuring that more workers are not unfairly penalized for attending the May 1st demonstrations. Supervisor Kumar stated “if the resolution passes it would not only officially recognize May 1st as International Workers Day (“el dia del trabajo”) in Dane County, but would also respect the right of county employees to take part in the street demonstrations on May 1st.”  Kumar continued, “It would ask that all county employers allow their employees to take part without suspension or dismissal. Though this may not be mandated, it will only help in assure that we do not have the same kind of employer reprisals as we did May 1st 2006.”

About the campaign against REAL ID

The Immigrant Workers Union is a grassroots organization focused on immigrant and worker rights advocacy in the Dane County area. Other organizations supporting the campaign against REAL ID and ACT 126 include: South Central Federation of Labor, the Interfaith Coalition for Worker’s Justice, SEIU Local 1 “Justice for Janitors”, SEIU District 1199W, PRD (Madison branch of the Mexican Party), UNITEHERE!, immigrant rights groups in Beloit and Whitewater, and many others.