Voices demand workers’ rights (with gallery)


The day was marked by powerful signs and bullhorn chants in conjunction with a well-organized flag precession down Park Blvd, ending at Chicano Park in Barrio Logan. The messages of the day hit hard, calling out perceived uneven economnic polices and egregious deportation laws, and rights for all workers from Latinos and African Americans to the elderly and queer groups. Photo credit: Celia Jimenez

Diego Lynch

On May 1, students and San Diego area activists gathered to celebrate “May Day” also known as International Worker’s Day. Unrecognized by the US Government, May Day represents the struggles of the working class, and commemorates a deadly clash in 1886 between police and protestors for a 8-hour work day.

As 2 p.m. approached, the crowd assembled at the corner of Park Blvd and A St to participate in the Workers United for Dignity and Justice protest march. The started out at 3 p.m. and moved through downtown San Diego, ending at Chicano Park in Barrio Logan.

This year, focus was on the demand to end deportation and border militarization, a minimum wage of $15 an hour as part of the San Diego “Fight for 15”, protection for the right to unionize, quality public education and an end to workplace discrimination against women and the queer community.

Most importantly, voters may have the opportunity to weigh in on the minimum wage debate with two ballot initiatives in November. One proposal by San Diego city council president Todd Gloria (D) will raise the minimum wage to $13.09 per hour by July 2017, needing a majority vote of the City Council to get on the ballot.

The other is an initiative to raise the minimum wage to $12 per hour by January 2018. All businesses or branches of larger companies with fewer than 25 employees will be exempt. The initiative was submitted by Blanca Lopez-Brown, a former San Diego City Council candidate.

All gallery photos by Celia Jimenez and Joe Kendall, City Times