May Day pride means climate & labor side by side!

Bo McClung
Date: May 1, 2024

International Workers’ Day, also known as May Day, is the internationally-recognized labor holiday to honor the invaluable contributions of workers everywhere. This day started as a way to commemorate a general strike in the United States where workers fought for the adoption of the eight-hour workday, which began on May 1st, 1886.

Today on May 1st, 2024, let us acknowledge that the fight for socioeconomic and environmental justice for the global working class is far from finished. For those of us advocating for a livable and sustainable climate where all peoples can flourish, we must be in solidarity with workers who want a just and green transition and to hold major polluting industries accountable

We recognize that workers’ needs oftentime go hand-in-hand with environmental protection. Current labor demands like higher standards in pay, training and safety are imperative to create a safer world for people and the planet by reducing risks of environmental catastrophe and ensuring necessary mitigation steps.

Workers around the world are directly harmed by climate chaos. Climate disasters such as the tornado in 2021 that struck an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois show how workers are at the frontlines of climate impact as well as the cleanup efforts that follow. 

Port of Seattle Credit: Bo McClung

We cannot forget that the rise in heat domes, mega fires, ocean acidification and the unmanageable weather disruptions experienced in the last few decades are all symptomatic consequences of unchecked global fossil fuel output. This is why it is so important to hold industrial polluters accountable — and why the fight for environmental accountability is one and the same fight for accountability to their own workers. 

Pacific Environment staff are honored to engage with and support labor movements. We know there is more work to do. That’s why in 2024 we are looking to continue to listen and learn from workers around the world and the U.S., including labor unions in the Pacific Northwest, port workers in the New York-New Jersey area and freight workers in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area. 

Thank you to workers of all industries around the world!