May Day march | International Workers’ Day: United to make our voices heard

May 01, 2024

Image May Day march | International Workers’ Day: United to make our voices heard

Montréal — Thousands of people will come together today in the streets of Montréal to celebrate International Workers’ Day. This year, the May Day march is organized by the Coalition du 1er mai, and the theme is: United to make our voices heard. The march will start at 5:30 p.m. at Parc François-Perrault, near the Saint-Michel metro station. For the Coalition, the recent mobilization of workers in the public and parapublic sectors resulted in significant advances in defending rights and improving working and employment conditions. But there is still a lot of work to be done, and we have to keep uniting our voices to tackle the challenges that affect all workers and, more broadly, Québec society.

“There are a number of issues that concern us and that we need to fight collectively: the climate crisis and its consequences, François Legault’s antidemocratic abuses and the government being out of touch with the realities in the Montréal area, the dismal working conditions of temporary foreign workers, and more,” said Coalition spokespersons Ariane Beauchemin Pepin, from the APTS (Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé et des services sociaux), and Vincent Chevarie, from Au bas de l’échelle. “Our political leaders aren’t listening, so it’s up to us to make ourselves heard. What was true yesterday is just as true today and remains so tomorrow: when we’re united, our voices carry.”

Accelerate the energy transition to address the climate crisis

For the Coalition, the climate crisis is one of the most urgent issues of our times, demanding immediate, concerted action. “By uniting our voices, we can put collective pressure on our political leaders to take bold measures to protect the environment, promote renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” the spokespersons said.

 Restore social dialogue

Social dialogue is essential for our society to remain democratic. It’s clear that we’re dealing with a paternalistic, business-oriented government, which interferes with this dialogue, depriving workers of their right to participate in decision making. “By mobilizing, we can put pressure on the government to start a transparent, responsible dialogue, to foster democracy and respect for fundamental rights,” Ariane Beauchemin Pepin and Vincent Chevarie said.

Improve working conditions to end precarity

It’s no secret: workers in insecure employment, particularly temporary foreign workers and asylum seekers, have working conditions that are typically precarious and unjust, even inhumane. “It’s high time that employers and government authorities end the exploitation and improve their working conditions,” the spokespersons said.

Solve the housing crisis

The housing crisis is a major challenge in many communities, particularly in Montréal. “By uniting our voices, we can put pressure on municipal, provincial and federal authorities to adopt policies and concrete measures to solve this crisis, particularly by investing in building social housing and introducing effective tenant protections,” Ariane Beauchemin Pepin and Vincent Chevarie said.

Offer a dignified life, protected from inflation

Given the rise in the cost of living both in the major urban centres and in the regions of Québec, the Coalition believes it is essential to defend a decent minimum wage and fight against inflation. “We are calling for effective economic policies and better protection for precarious and low-income workers. It’s also clearly important to have access to free, accessible and universal public services and social programs to ensure everyone can live a decent life,” the spokespersons said.

The Coalition du 1er mai

The Coalition du 1er mai is a group of unions, community organizations, and civil society groups that join forces every year to organize the traditional May Day march celebrating International Workers’ Day.

The Coalition includes the APTS (Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé et des services sociaux), Au bas de l’échelle, the CSD (Centrale des syndicats démocratiques), the CSN (Confédération des syndicats nationaux), the CSQ (Centrale des syndicats du Québec), the IWC (Immigrant Workers Centre), the Conseil central du Montréal métropolitain – CSN, the CRFTQMM (Conseil régional FTQ Montréal métropolitain), the FAE (Fédération autonome de l’enseignement), the FTQ (Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec), the FECQ (Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec), the FIQ (Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec), the FDNS (Front de défense des non-syndiqué.e.s), the SFPQ (Syndicat de la fonction publique et parapublique du Québec), the SPGQ (Syndicat de professionnelles et professionnels du gouvernement du Québec), the MAC (Mouvement action chômage), the TROVEP (Table régionale des organismes volontaires d’éducation populaire de Montréal), UTTAM (Union des travailleuses et travailleurs accidentés ou malades) and the UEQ (Union étudiante du Québec).