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UNI Global Union May Day Message

May Day Message From UNI Global Union

This 1 May, UNI General Secretary Christy Hoffman sends the following message:

Happy May Day! 

Unions are taking to the streets today to both fight back and win forward. We are celebrating the importance of workers coming together to win their power in societies. And fighting back against the continuing advance of a right wing agenda which intends to strip our rights, diminish our standards of living and destroy our democracies.   

The world’s  3,000 billionaires have increased their wealth by 34 per cent since 2020 while workers’ rights have receded by every measure. Inflation has taken large share of workers wages, and cuts in public spending have stalled poverty reduction. It is no wonder that trust in government has plummeted and with that, trust in democracy.

Far too many workers are so driven by anger at the status quo that they embrace deceitful political leaders who do not share democratic values, who prefer to blame “outsiders” for losses in living standards and fan the flames of racism and nationalism. The rights of women and LGBTQ+ communities are equally under attack.   

But right wing forces should not underestimate the power and determination of trade unionists to mobilize, to fight back and to win back our democracies.  For example, in Argentina,  the extreme right wing leader Milei decided that he could only implement his painful “reforms” if he first destroyed the unions. Hundreds of thousands of workers have since joined a general strike and Milei will face resistance at every turn.   

We know unions a essential for democratic workplaces. They are a vital check on employers’ power on the job. They ensure workers are treated as human beings, not as robots, as Amazon workers often say.  

But they do more than negotiate wages and conditions. Unions educate and mobilize, and right now, that could not be more important. The World Economic Forum identified misinformation as top global risk to our futures and our democracies. False narratives fester when workers feel their dignity is being stripped away. We know that economic pressures widen fissures along racial, national and religious lines, as people scapegoat migrants and minorities rather than the rich and powerful making policies. 

Unions champion inclusivity, defend dignity and reinforce economic justice across our communities. They foster solidarity in communities where too often racial resentment and xenophobia grow.  

That is why this May Day, our commitment as trade unions must not only be to preserve rights on the job. We must fight to advance justice in our communities. We do that by organizing and growing our movement. We do that through our shared struggle for democracy.  

So today, join us on the streets and in your union halls. Demand that your employer and your elected officials listen to your voice. Let us show that democracy does not end with a vote; it begins there.