Union leaders on the importance of celebrating May Day

Maritime Union of Australia women’s liaison officer Mich-Elle Myers at the May Day dinner.

More than 50 people attended the annual May Day Dinner held in Geelong on May 5. Speakers at the dinner included Maritime Union of Australia women’s liaison officer Mich-Elle Myers and Victorian Allied Health Professionals Association secretary Craig McGregor. Former Secretary of Geelong Trades Hall Council (GTHC) Tim Gooden also gave a toast to Green Left Weekly.

Green Left Weekly asked Myers and McGregor, as well as current GTHC secretary Colin Vernon, why it is important to celebrate May Day.

McGregor said: “May Day is a bit of a mess these days — the 8-hour day, the Haymarket Riot and maybe even a sniff of Beltane. But as progressives, we only have one real asset and we neglect it: solidarity.

“I’d love to see May Day become a celebration of worker solidarity. That would see me drag the family out to a rally.

“Also, the capitalists love trashing our cultural stuff for a quick buck. They want nothing to do with May Day; there’s a celebration in that.”

Myers said: “Celebrating May Day is important because now more than ever workers of the world need to unite. Global capital is uniting and we [the workers] need to unite to fight against it.”

Vernon said: “We celebrate May Day because of all the struggles for what workers have today.

“It is important that we do celebrate these events. We have to remember the history of the working class. [If] we remember the history, we can shape the future.”

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