May 1 is International Workers’ Day

April 20, 2021

International Workers’ Day began in July 1889 when delegates to the International Workers’ Congress, held in Paris, called upon workers around the world to hold a one-day demonstration to fight for the eight-hour work day.

May 1 was chosen to commemorate the first May Day actions which took place in the United States in 1886. In Chicago, the epicenter of the 1886 protests, 40,000 workers went on strike to protest for an eight-hour work day. After days of peaceful demonstration, violence erupted in Chicago's Haymarket Square and bomb blast and subsequent police response resulted in the deaths of several police officers, protesters and civilians.

On International Workers’ Day or “May Day” we recognize the efforts of our forebears in the labour movement. Around the world events are held to honour those who have worked and fought to ensure better rights, wages and working conditions for all workers, and to speak out about ongoing labour issues and injustices.

Today, ONA members with a passion for union activism are coming together to learn how to build relationships and strong teams, motivate supporters to take action, and become confident in speaking out on labour issues.

Learn More

Want to stay current on the issues affecting front-line nurses and health-care workers? Looking for the latest Union news? Check out the "Forward Together with ONA!" podcast for updates from ONA President Vicki McKenna.

The Canadian Labour Congress is the largest labour organization in Canada. Their website features the latest labour news, information about ongoing campaigns, and research current labour issues.

Visit the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions website for the latest news and research on issues affecting Canadian nurses.