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This week in labour: May Day madness

Photo: Flickr/Robert Cudmore

I don't want to chide you for reading rabble.ca but this is International Workers Day, so you should really be in the streets, doing some rabble rousing there. Oh wait, you're on your phone reading? Well, keep on marching, then!

Since the 1880s May 1 has been a day to celebrate the rites of spring and the spirit of revolution. So read about what the labour movement has been up to this week and then go take part in the revolution, please.

 

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The legacy and lessons in May Day, with Stephanie Ross

Photo: Flickr/State Library Victoria Collections

In Canada, May Day has always been the rebel workers holiday. 

First celebrated in the 1880s, International Workers Day has its roots in the historic struggle for workers rights and collective action.

In the latter half of the nineteenth century, the era known as the Gilded Age, the rise of industrialism and unregulated capitalism led to unprecedented inequality in North America. At the same time, however, political radicalism and trade unionism were on the rise among working people.

These groups found common front in their demand for a shorter work week. And on May 1, 1886, workers took to the streets in the thousands to demand an eight-hour work day. 

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Asia Pacific Currents

Protests against the GST in Malaysia and the use of repressive legislation

April 24, 2015
| Regional updates and interview with Arul, general secretary of Socialist Party of Malaysia, on arrests, repression and the GST in Malaysia.
Length: 29:17 minutes (13.41 MB)

Service cuts in Ontario's austerity budget spark protest

Photo: Ella Bedard

Hundreds of public sector union members rallied outside the Ontario government buildings on Thursday to protest the provincial budget.

"This is about the kind of Ontario that we want," said OPSEU Executive Board Member Ibrahim Bozai, "We are anticipating serious cuts. We’re anticipating the government digging in their heels when it comes to investments in public services, and more privatization."

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This week in labour: Budget fails and municipal woes

Photo: Flickr/library and Archives Canada

The Federal and Ontario budgets announced this week were packed with austerity. The false promises of balanced budgets were used to justify service cuts and privatization across the board. Add that to the similarly lean budget released by the Nova Scotia Liberals last week and we’ve got a whole lot of mess coming our way.

What’s that saying? April austerity brings what in May? Here's what happened this week in labour:

 

 

 

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What is the labour movement doing to prepare for the next election?

Photo: People's Social Forum

Hassan Yussuff is the president of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), the umbrella organization which encompasses dozens of affiliated unions and represents over three million workers. In February, the CLC launched its election preparedness campaign, which seeks to mobilize union members to defeat Harper's conservatives in the upcoming federal election.

I spoke with Yussuff about what we can expect from the campaign's second phase, which is set to start in the upcoming weeks. This interview has been edited and condensed.

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The Target diaries: Closing time

Photo: flickr/Kevin Dooley
In the final instalment of the Target diaries, this worker recounts the last four hour shift.

Related rabble.ca story:

The Target diaries: Short and sweet ending

Photo: flickr/Dean Hochman

Like this article? Chip in to keep stories like these coming.

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Asia Pacific Currents

Aboriginal activist continues fight for justice for Palm Island community in Australia

April 17, 2015
| Labour updates from the Asia Pacific region and interview with Lex Wotton on the ongoing fight for justice of Aboriginal people.
Length: 30:08 minutes (13.8 MB)

Canadian workers are joining global action: The fight for $15 minimum wage

Photo: Flickr/Light Brigading

From Thunder Bay to Victoria, major protests will take place in Canada tomorrow as part of global Day of Action to demand higher minimum wages and decent working conditions. 

Scheduled for April 15 (4/15), the date echoes the demand of protesters in the United States and across Canada for a $15 minimum wage. 

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