May 1 is International Workers’ Day, when unions traditionally stage protests and celebrations.
This year, it’s taking on a new significance as groups in Philadelphia and around the country plan to rally against some of President Donald Trump’s policies.
At noon at Philadelphia City Hall, the immigrants rights group Juntos, the Black and Brown Workers Collective and at least two unions — Unite Here! And SEIU 32BJ — will gather for a rally.
“The goal of the day is to really show that we’re here, that we’re not going anywhere, and that we need to think about really pushing back against this current president,” said Erika Almiron, Juntos’ executive director. Juntos is leading a march starting at 10 a.m. from Fourth and Tasker to the noon protest, she said.
Organizers hope to connect national issues to local politics, including the upcoming primary in the race for Philadelphia district attorney and the police department’s continued use of stop-and-frisk.
Protesters will also “call for an end to the extreme immigration policies set forth by the Trump administration: threatening to end funding for sanctuary cities, like Philadelphia, and banning people based on their religion,” said a release by SEIU 32 BJ.
Participants are also encouraged not to work, keep their kids home from schools, and abstain from purchases — in the same spirit as the “Day without Immigrants” demonstrations in February.
For Philadelphia public school teachers, the day is also an opportunity to underscore their time worked without a contract. Members of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers will be protesting outside of school district headquarters at 440 N. Broad Street at 10 a.m., before marching south to join the rally at city hall. Teachers from at least six schools plan on walking out, according to a release by the Caucus of Working Educators, a group within the union. The caucus’ statement said wider union leadership did not sponsor, organize or endorse the day’s actions.
Walkouts are also planned for area college campuses, and similar protests are shaping up in Reading, Allentown and Harrisburg, as well as major cities in other states.