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Past Events

Report on ILHS-CFL May Day Event

Webtrax Admin

Chicago workers celebrated May Day with an afternoon rally in Haymarket Square by the Memorial Sculpture at Randolph and DesPlaines. The crowd cheered the presentation of a plaque from the AFL-CIO to be attached to the base of the Monument. Last year's plaque came from the Chicago Federation of Labor. Other plaques have been presented by unions in Iraq, Columbia, S.A., and UNI (Union Network International).

Ross Hyman, spokesman for the AFL-CIO, delivered a message from President John Sweeney, Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka and Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker. They declared: "Because we believe deeply in solidarity with workers everywhere, we're proud that the AFL-CIO now has a plaque at the place where May Day itself—the international day for workers—was born. That is happening because the Illinois Labor History Society and the Chicago Federation of Labor played a key role in the building of this monument. We will always be grateful to them for what they've done."

Continuing in the same vein, they declared: "...the best way to honor the Haymarket Martyrs is to advance the cause they fought and died for. Here and now, that means restoring the freedom of workers to organize into unions by passing the Employee Free Choice Act."

Responding for the Chicago Federation of Labor was its Secretary-Treasurer, Jorge Rodriguez. ILHS President Larry Spivack opened the meeting with welcoming remarks, and Board Member James Thindwa of Jobs with Justice acted as Master of Ceremonies.

Among those who addressed the meeting were: Tim Yeager of UAW; S. J. Hawking of ARISE; Margarita Klein, Chief of Staff, Workers United; Skippy (as he prefers to be called) of the IWW; and Armando Robles, President of UE Local 1110 that occupied Republic Windows and Doors.

Well-known folksinger Bucky Halker had the crowd singing along with him as he opened and closed the event. Worthy of note was the large number of young people, mostly from the IWW, who were present. The event was also attended by Mary Brogger, the sculptor of the Memorial. She expressed her pleasure at the appearance of the growing number of plaques from around the world.