Did you know that May 1st has historically been a day of action for workers around the world?
Ever since 200,000 workers went on strike for an eight-hour day on May 1st, 1886, most of the world has celebrated this historic moment annually, even though the U.S. officially celebrates “Labor Day” in September and the holiday tends to have a less political connotation.
But these are highly political times. Given the heightened level of insecurity both workers and immigrants are facing under the Trump administration, social justice groups across the nation are planning May 1st strikes and protest actions across America.
In other words, they plan to #ShutitDownMay1st by showing the country a #DayWithoutAWorker and a #DayWithoutAnImmigrant.
While many of us are workers ourselves, as people who employ a nanny or childcare provider, house cleaner, or home care attendant, we can have a unique impact on May 1 by supporting the workers in our homes. Whether you’d like to participate in the actions on May 1st as an employer, worker, or both, the important thing is to participate!
Learn more about the Day of Action and what domestic employers can do during a thirty minute call on Thursday, April 27th with Ilana Berger, Director, Hand in Hand, and Andrea Cristina Mercado, Director of Campaigns at the National Domestic Workers Alliance. RSVP Here.
On the call, we’ll dig into how we as domestic employers are planning to take action in the following ways:
Give the person we employ a paid day off
We’re encouraging all domestic employers who can to offer the person they employ a paid day off so that they’re able to participate in the strike. And we encourage you to join workers out in the streets! If giving a paid day off isn’t possible—and we know that it isn’t for many—see below for more ways to participate.
Join our local chapters for actions in New York or the Bay Area
Our organizers and leaders are heading to the streets!
New York: Join our New York chapter at A Day Without Immigrants and Rise Up NY, May 1. The plan is to make signs together at our offices from noon to three, then join the march in Union Square at 5 p.m. To coordinate, email our NY organizer, Tatiana.
Bay Area: In the morning, we’ll be bringing our kids to join the All-Day May Day Activities for Young Activists + Allies in San Antonio park in Oakland. At 3 pm, we’ll be joining our CA Domestic Worker Coalition allies at Fruitvale BART station for the Oakland May Day: March & Strike for Immigrant and Worker Rights. Email our Bay Area organizer, Lindsay, if you’d like to volunteer in the morning or join us for the march. Please let her know if you have any access needs.
Join a march/rally/action near you, with the person you employ
Look up actions all over the country on the May1.org site. You can even learn how to organize a strike for better conditions at your own workplace or how to plan ahead to take the day off.
Make calls to Congress, write letters, post on social media
You can sign petitions or find actions to take or issues to communicate with your elected official about at other social justice or progressive organizations like MoveOn, CTZNWELL, Hollaback, MomsRising, and JFREJ.
Have a Sanctuary Homes conversation with the worker you employ
Have you spoken about the election? If not, now is a great time. It doesn’t require scheduling a meeting or any formal structure. You could simply start with: “I’ve been meaning to ask: How have you been feeling since the election?” With that, the lines of communication are open! You can read more tips here.
Our key tip is always to avoid making assumptions, whether it’s about their or their family’s immigration statuses or their politics.
Ask if the person you employ has heard of the May 1st Day of Action. If not, you can say what it’s about, share how you plan to participate or support, and ask if they are interested in participating in some way. (Be mindful that many people do not feel comfortable with protests for a variety of reasons.)
Think right now about what you can offer or would like to suggest. Would you like to attend a rally together? If you can’t provide a paid day off, maybe you can spend an hour of the day together making calls to your representatives?
If you think they may be reluctant to say they’d like the day off work if it’s a day they’re scheduled to work at your home, you can take the pressure off by being the first to mention it, and be clear that you can offer a paid day off so that they know they aren’t choosing between a paycheck and the protest.
Remember that when it comes to political action, you don’t have to do everything, and you don’t have to be perfect. You just have to start and to do something. Whatever you do on May 1, know that you’re doing it as part of a community of people just like you. We’re with you! And you can share what you’re doing by tagging us on social media (@DomesticEmployers on Facebook and @HiHEmployers on Twitter) or sending us an email.