Mayday 2007 press release

Posted by admin on May 1st, 2007


Workers, trade unions to join immigrant, migrant and undocumented workers in local May Day rally: Tuesday May 1 2007 at 6:00 pm at Clark Park (Commercial Drive & East 14th)

April 26, 2007, Vancouver- Local workers, immigrant rights organizations, community groups, and trade unions will be demonstrating on May 1 International Workers Day. The rally in Vancouver is also part of a North-American wide day of mobilization in solidarity with immigrant, migrant and undocumented workers.  “This march continues the militant tradition of May Day and seeks to expose the heightened attacks on workers’ livelihood and rights and oppose the exploitation of immigrant, migrant and undocumented labour in Canada,” says Glecy Duran, Chairperson of SIKLAB-BC (Overseas Filipino Workers Group) and May Day 2007 Organizing Committee.

The organizing groups say they are also demonstrating to highlight the conditions of local immigrant and undocumented workers. Mandeep Dhillon, with No One is Illegal Vancouver and STATUS Coalition states: “Thousands are exploited under guest-worker programs, while hundreds of thousands of people live without status. Undocumented workers face the most precarious realities- without sufficient access to health care or education, in great fear of being detained or deported, while being the most exploited in the workplace. The immigration debate in Canada faces a stark choice: either more enforcement and fear, or more human solidarity and respect for human rights. We choose solidarity and rights, meaning a full, comprehensive and inclusive regularization program for all non-status migrants, which is a legitimate and realistic demand.”

According to the groups organizing the rally, migrant workers such as those under the Live-in Caregiver Program and the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program are legislated into poverty and denied basic labour standards and access to services. The groups also denounce the expansion of the Temporary Workers Program, which they say will only intensify the exploitation of migrant workers.

Sid Chow Tan, President of the Association of Chinese Canadians for Equality and Solidarity Society, a member group of the STATUS Coalition, states “The historical injustices of the Chinese Head Tax are being replicated today through Canada’s exploitative guest-worker programs. The descendants of these migrant-worker programs will be demanding redress in three decades. The labour, lives, and sweat of immigrants have shaped this society yet there is a constant non-recognition of the basic rights and dignity of immigrant, migrant, and undocumented workers.”

“Despite the worsening conditions, there is a growing grassroots movement of workers, immigrant, migrant and undocumented workers including indigenous people, women, and youth who are speaking out and rising up against their exploitation and oppression,” says Duran. Speakers will include SIKLAB- Canada, Justice for Migrant Workers, Canadian Union of Public Employees, Hospital Employees’ Union, Public Service Alliance of Canada, Bus Riders Union and No One Is Illegal.

– Mandeep Dhillon, STATUS Coalition and No One Is Illegal Vancouver: 778-840-2009
– Sid Tan, STATUS & Association of Chinese Canadians for Equality and Solidarity: 604-783-1853
– Tamineh Sadeghi: STATUS Coalition and Iranian Federation of Refugees: 604- 763-1446
– Hetty Alcuitas, May Day 2007 Organizing Committee: 604-215-1103.

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