Baltimore May Day: Bust racism, not unions!

On May Day, the Peoples Power Assembly held a two-mile march and car caravan that ended at Baltimore City Hall, where participants held a United Workers’ Assembly. Workers spoke on many of the major issues facing the working class and resolved to take action.

Joyce Butler of the PPA co-chaired the assembly with Sharon Black. Butler introduced Rev. Annie Chambers, who proclaimed the history of May Day as our history and called for a real minimum wage of $25. 

Steven Ceci spoke on behalf of unemployed workers, explaining that a huge number of workers are not receiving their benefits. Ceci is a former hospitality worker and Amazon warehouse worker. The assembly plans to hold a press conference on Friday, May 7, to demand that people receive their unemployment benefits and will be holding protests in the near future.

Lars Bertling, Game Workers Unite representative, declared the need to fight against capitalism and for socialism.  

Prisoners are workers too! Alec Summerfield and Marilyn Barnes, mother of Marlyn Barnes, who died under suspicious circumstances at Harford County Jail, gave powerful presentations. They represented the Prisoners Solidarity Committee and the Peoples Power Assembly.  

Following a presentation by American Federation of Government Employees representative Andrew Concon, the assembly voted to support the Protect the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act), a bill in Congress to defend the rights of workers organizing for union representation. They also called for President Joe Biden to immediately issue an executive order protecting union rights in the wake of Amazon’s theft of the election in Bessemer, Ala.

Russ Mack highlighted the connection between racism, police terror and the workers’ struggle, calling on participants to “Say their names” to highlight the rash of police killings that took place during and after the trial of Derek Chauvin.  

Abby Sea from Bmore 4 Border Justice highlighted the importance of supporting im/migrant rights.

The Assembly heard a special message from a Baltimore Amazon worker and an exciting message from the Los Angeles struggle to defend “hero pay” for essential workers and stop Kroger’s store closings by John Parker of the Harriet Tubman Center for Social Justice.  

The video clips included here were just a small part of the hour-long workers’ program.

SLL photos: Andre Powell