Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

May Day in Spain

People gather during a demonstration to mark International Workers' Day in Madrid, Spain on May 1, 2022. (Photo: Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Workers Mark May Day With Pro-Labor Protests Worldwide

"It's a May Day of social and civil commitment for peace and labor," said Daniela Fumarola, head of Italy's CISL union.

Jessica Corbett

This is a developing story… Please check back for possible updates...

Workers and labor rights advocates across the globe came together Sunday for demonstrations marking International Workers' Day, or May Day.

Organizers held about 250 actions across France, many pressuring newly reelected French President Emmanuel Macron to ditch his plan to raise the retirement age from 62 to 65. Reuters reported that "marchers carried banners reading 'Retirement Before Arthritis,' 'Retirement at 60, Freeze Prices,' and 'Macron, Get Out.'"

The news agency noted that "most rallies were peaceful but in Paris police intervened after black-clad 'Black Bloc' anarchists tried to erect a barricade in a street near La Republique Square."

A Sunday march in Paris was "dominated" by leftist leader Jean-Luc Melenchon, who finished third in the recent presidential race, according to the Associated Press. Melenchon said that "May Day is the time to rally for a reduction in working time. That reduction signifies one key thing—that workers should be getting a larger share of the wealth."

Italians planned an outdoor concert in Rome as well as events across the capital and country. The nation's three main labor unions acknowledged Russia's war on Ukraine in their actions, organizing under the slogan "Working for peace."

"It's a May Day of social and civil commitment for peace and labor," said the head of Italy's CISL union, Daniela Fumarola, the AP reported.

Demonstrators in Germany also expressed solidarity with Ukraine and called for an end to the Russia assault.

Euro Weekly News shared developments from Spain:

Thousands took to the streets, along with members of the communist CCOO and the 1888-founded UGT, across Spain.

The march in Madrid began at midday and was attended, by union leaders Pepe Álvarez (UGT) and Unai Sordo, and by the vice president and minister for labour, Yolanda Díaz, and the spokesperson of the executive, Isabel Rodríguez.

Díaz announced shortly before the start of one of "the most important demonstrations in the world" that the government will set up a commission of experts to address the "great reform of Spanish law, the statute of labour of the XXI century," and that in a few weeks they will work with social partners to develop a law of institutional participation.

Noting rallies held in Cambodia, Cyprus, Greece, India, Pakistan, Serbia, Sri Lanka, South Korea, and Turkey, Al Jazeera reported that "Turkish riot police arrested dozens of protesters trying to reach Istanbul's main Taksim Square for May Day demonstrations against economic hardship caused by raging inflation."

Meanwhile, in the United States, community-based organizations, rights groups, and unions met in Washington Square Park for a New York City March to tell Congress that immigrants "deserve stronger worker protections and a pathway to citizenship!"

Organizers of the NYC emphasized that the Covid-19 pandemic, which began over two years ago, has "disproportionately impacted Black and Brown communities" who have been "pushed to the frontlines as essential workers to provide for their families and our communities."

Demonstrators also directed those messages to decision-makers in Washington, D.C.—specifically urging President Joe Biden to protect immigrant workers with #DignityNotDetention.

Progressives in Congress marked May Day with calls to send the Protect the Right to Organize (PRO) Act to Biden's desk.

"I stand with the working people of America who are coming together, organizing new unions all over the place, and making their voices heard," tweeted Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) "Now let's pass the #PROAct already to roll out the welcome mat for even more organizing."

This year's demonstrations come on the heels of major organizing wins by Amazon and Starbucks employees, which Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) highlighted Sunday.

"From baristas to warehouse workers to teachers, there is a commonality—a working-class ground down decade after decade," he said. "Across the country, working people refuse to be cogs in the machine of the billionaire class. This #MayDay, let's remember the power of our solidarity."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

As Evisceration of Roe Looms, Poll Finds Support for Abortion Rights at New High

The findings come on the heels of nationwide marches in defense of reproductive rights.

Andrea Germanos ·


Kagan Pens Scathing Dissent as Supreme Court Kills Another Campaign Finance Rule

"In allowing those payments to go forward unrestrained, today's decision can only bring this country's political system into further disrepute," wrote Justice Elena Kagan.

Jake Johnson ·


Jailed Palestinian Lawyer Implores ICC to Probe Israeli 'Crimes Against Humanity' in East Jerusalem

"We urge the ICC prosecutor to take active and concrete investigative steps in order to break the cycle of impunity for perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Palestine."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Oil Fuels War': Greenpeace Activists Block Tanker Carrying Russian Diesel to UK

"To stand up to Putin, bring bills down, and tackle climate change, the prime minister must get us off fossil fuels as fast as possible."

Kenny Stancil ·


Bezos Praises Manchin for Blocking Biden's Corporate Tax Hike

"Biden's plan was to make billionaires and corporations pay their fair share in taxes, and use that money to help families," said one critic. "Of course a billionaire owner of a $1.1 trillion corporation doesn't like that."

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo