CFL News
June 21, 2019

CFL and Illinois Labor History Society Host May Day Celebrations, Plaque Dedication

CFL and Illinois Labor History Society Host May Day Celebrations, Plaque Dedication

This May Day, the CFL joined the Illinois Labor History Society as well as union members and labor activists at Haymarket Square to celebrate International Workers Day. The event commemorates the Haymarket massacre, its martyrs, and the fight for the eight-hour workday.

Then secretary-Treasurer Reiter spoke at the event, highlighting the historical significance of the massacre in the international labor movement, and praising labor and immigrant rights activists’ for continuing the fight for justice. Hundreds attended the event, including union members from across the city.

Laura Garza of SEIU Local 1 and Lawrence Benito of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights spoke at the event. Both speakers emphasized the importance of solidarity with workers across our movement, including low-income and immigrant workers.

Elmer “Bong” Labog, a Filipino labor activist and Chairperson of the May First Movement, one of the largest industrial labor federations in the Philippines, also spoke. He dedicated a plaque to be displayed on the monument commemorating the Haymarket Martyrs and expressing international solidarity with Chicago workers and the labor movement in the United States. The site includes similar dedications of solidarity from across the United States and the globe.

 he event is organized annually by ILHS and CFL to mark the site and date of the Haymarket Massacre, a protest against the killing of workers and union organizers, and in favor of the eight-hour work day. After an unknown assailant threw a bomb into a crowd of protesters, the ensuing violence and antiworker trials garnered international attention and galvanized labor activists worldwide. The massacre is memorialized internationally on May 1 as International Workers Day, or May Day.

The story of Chicago is tied directly to the story of the labor movement, and the CFL is proud to support the Illinois Labor History Society and their important efforts to honor and memorialize this rich history