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Appleton, WI: 2nd annual May Day rally

By Aodhan Bowman

Audari Tamayo of Appleton SDS speaks about organizing campus workers.

Appleton, WI – Local groups rallied in Houdini Plaza in the early afternoon on May 1 to celebrate International Workers’ Day.

Appleton Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Wise Women Healing Institute, United Action Oshkosh (UAO), and Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) gathered with chants and speeches explaining the origin of May Day and the importance of organized labor as well as the various other movements of the working class.

“May Day is a day of celebration for workers around the world because it remembers the significance of the production-halting strike and the political power that it gives the working class against the corporate tyrants,” said Dan Pratt, a steward at UPS in Oshkosh and a member of Teamsters Local 344.

The Appleton SDS chapter has been organizing for many months to increase the minimum wage for workers at Lawrence University to $15 an hour. Audari Tamayo, a leader with SDS, spoke about the importance of unity between student and non-student workers on campus.

“The bosses want our non-student coworkers to think that the exploitation of student workers is in their interests. They are attempting to divide and conquer our workplace like every other, they are attempting to have the student and non-student workers see each other as enemies,” Tamayo said. “Their tactics of intimidation have not worked, as those of us in the workplace know who the real enemy is. We know that we have much more in common with each other than we do with any of the bosses!”

Today, the importance of International Workers’ Day is hidden by the U.S. government, but this day is still celebrated by the working class who know the importance of their labor. The victories at Amazon and Starbucks (including a store in Appleton), taken together with the relative increase in strike activity over the last year, is demonstrative of the fact that workers are realizing that they have real power to change their conditions when they come together and organize on the shop floor.

#AppletonWI #StudentMovement #MayDay