© 2024 WRVO Public Media
NPR News for Central New York
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

May Day in Syracuse focuses on immigrant workers

Ellen Abbott
A May Day rally in Syracuse Monday focused on immigrant workers.

A May Day rally in Syracuse Monday focused on immigrants, like many others around the country.

May Day, also called International Workers’ Day, has been around for more than a century, started by laborers in Chicago who marched for an eight-hour workday at the end of the 19th century. And Nikeeta Slade of the Worker’s Center of Central New York wanted that history front and center at the Syracuse rally.

"It’s really important to know our radical working class history, because the ruling elite tries really hard, to keep that history from us. Am I right?" Slade asked the crowd, which agreed.

Many of those taking part in the rally and march were immigrants. Dolores, who did not want her last name used, is originally from Mexico and orks at a local apple farm. And while she says she is treated well, she says there are many immigrants who work in poor conditions. Speaking through an interpreter, she said reform is necessary.

Credit Ellen Abbott / WRVO News
Dolores is an immigrant worker, who participated in the May Day rally in Syracuse Monday

"You need treatment with dignity, fair wages, a lot of us don’t have health insurance, or even a day off,” she said.

Activists say they need to stand up for workers rights now more than ever, because of what they call the unjust detentions and deportations of immigrant workers.

Dolores says life for immigrants is more stressful, due to actions by the Trump administration.

“Yeah, I’m very worried, because there’s a couple of people who are criminals, who do bad things, and they think we are all like that. But the majority of us, we don’t do that, we just come here to work,” she said.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.