Shoulder to Shoulder, Working Families March on May Day


Remarks by AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka, Wisconsin May Day Rally for Immigrant and Worker Rights
May 01, 2011

Brothers and Sisters, May Day is our day!

This is our day to stand together, to lift our voices together, to join together for immigrant and workers' rights.

Thank you, Michael [Rosen], for that introduction. Thank you all for being here, and showing Wisconsin and the world that We Are One!

A little more than five years ago, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner from your neighboring congressional district, declared war on immigrants when he tried to criminalize immigrant workers.  

But you and other immigrant communities took to the streets—millions of you, all over the country--together with clergy, union members and community allies. And you told Sensenbrenner, "No!"

Now your governor, Scott Walker, in the spirit of Sensenbrenner, has declared war on Wisconsin's workers. And just like you did five years ago on May 1---and have been doing every May Day since—Wisconsin's workers have joined together in peaceful protests to say, "No!"

And again your voices have been heard across this nation, inspiring an uprising of America's working people, standing together and saying "No" to divide-and-conquer politics.  "No!" to tearing working families down, rather than building us up.  "No!" to corporate-backed politicians trying to turn us into a low-wage, no-rights workforce as payback to their CEO friends.

We're saying "No!" to the Scott Walkers, "you cannot take basic rights and jobs away from teachers, firefighters and police officers—the people we rely on to make our communities safe and worth living in."

We're saying "No!" to the Jim Sensenbrenners, "you cannot force police officers to harass someone on the street simply because of how he or she looks."

And we're saying "Yes!" to a different future than the one the Scott Walkers and theJim Sensenbrenners are mapping out for us.

"Yes!" to working together, all of us, every day, to build the America our children need and deserve—all of our children, whether we are third-generation Americans, second-generation, first generation or immigrants ourselves.    

And what is this America we want?

It's a land of equal opportunity, a land of fairness in the workplace and society.

It's a land where we all—every one of us—have the right to come together in unions and bargain for a better life. A land where we can join together to turn jobs into good jobs, with wages we can raise families on and health care we can count on, and where every job is a safe job.

A land where the DREAM Act enables all of our children to reach their aspirations.

We reject the idea that America can no longer be great, that our country can't afford to do what is right, that we're too broke to treat all our people fairly, too broke to build economic security, and health security, and retirement security.

We reject the idea that America can't afford to be the land of shared prosperity.  

We reject the idea that America's bounty is only for some, not for all.

Brothers and sisters, so many rich and powerful institutions are determined to keep us in our place, to defeat us, to wear us down.

There's only one way we can rise above it—together.

Let this May Day, 2011, herald a new era of solidarity for us. Let it ring in the time when no one is left in the shadows, when the circumstances of your birth do not determine your fate, when the rights and the justice those who came before us lived and died for are shared by all of us.

Side by side, shoulder-to-shoulder, united—We Are One.

Thank you, and God bless you all.

Photo courtesy

Post your comment

Comments are moderated. See guidelines here.


No one has commented on this page yet.

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments