Local News

Demonstrators back worker rights in May Day rally

Posted May 1

— Scores of demonstrators rallied in Raleigh and Durham on Monday for higher wages and better treatment of women and immigrants as part of international May Day activities.

About 75 people gathered in Moore Square in downtown Raleigh on Monday morning before marching to the Legislative Building. Another group gathered in downtown Durham in the evening.

"We're trying to fight for better rights all across the board," 21-year-old Travon Bridges said. "We have (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) in our state where folks are getting deported. We have women workers who are being sexually harassed by men. We have black and brown workers who are being plagued with racism."

The rallies included students, immigrants, people working minimum-wage jobs and others who supported their cause.

Amid the chants of "worker power," a man carrying an American flag said he attended the rally with his wife and son because he wants justice for all workers.

"This is for anybody struggling to pay their bills paycheck to paycheck," Bridges said.

Antonio Guierrez stood in the sweltering heat with his 8-year-old son. A native of Mexico, he has lived in Wilson for 15 years and is worried about his son's future.

"They think we are all criminals, and we are not all criminals," Guierrez said of immigrants. "I came over here because of poverty, and I’m living the best I can.

"I want him to have his father with him. I want him to grow in a good way and have good principles," he said of his son.

Rally organizers said they are convinced the demonstrations will raise awareness and eventually effect change.

"Demonstrations, mass mobilization throughout history, have created a tremendous amount of pressures on lawmakers, politicians, decision makers to shift and change according to the will of the people," said Loan Tran of the Triangle Unity Mayday Coalition.


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  • Kevin Weidner May 2, 9:35 a.m.
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    Sniff Sniff

    It's incredibly difficult to take folks protesting for workers rights seriously when they choose to protest during working hours.

  • Matt Smithe May 2, 8:51 a.m.
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    People are always declaring their "rights" but I never seem to see them mention the concomitant responsibilities.

  • Robert Swiger Sr. May 1, 7:56 p.m.
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    No one ask them to fill out the application for the job. If they don't like it the can quit.

  • Joe DeSantis May 1, 6:57 p.m.
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    Once again WRAL takes a decided liberal slant in its positioning of news stories, with little effort to distinguish between those advancing the cause of legal immigrants versus advocates of illegal, undocumented aliens who have chosen to break our laws and violate our borders by illegally coming to this country in the first place. This story quotes Antonio Guirrez as saying, "I came here because of poverty and I'm living the best I can." Yet the story fails to mention whether he is here as a legal immigrant, or illegal alien. He is further quoted, "I want him to have his father with him. I want him to grow and have principles." That suggests he might actually be afraid of deportation for entering this country illegally. And if that's the case, what "principles" is he teaching his son if his first lesson is to break our laws? Entry level and minimum wage jobs were never designed to raise a family, buy a house or send kids to college. Labor laws protect all workers if enforced.

  • Ronald Woodard May 1, 6:23 p.m.
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    Legal immigrants already have rights and the right to work. The demonstrators want illegal immigrants to be able to work and take jobs that belong to unemployed citizens. Low-skilled citizens would earn higher wages if not for large numbers of illegal immigrants in North Carolina driving down their wages. And the Pew Hispanic Center says only 4% of illegal immigrants work on a farm.