Protesters demand higher wages for essential workers on International Workers’ Day


Manveen Kaur Anand

Various organizations sat down holding up their signs and flags on International Workers’ Day on May 1.

Hundreds of people marched from Roosevelt Park to San Jose City Hall to advocate for essential workers on International Workers’ Day, May 1.
The rally featured speeches about workers’ rights, dance performances by Indigenous people, and food and snacks provided by the nonprofit HERO Tent.
Protesters chanted “the people united will never be divided” and “si se puede,” which means “yes, we can.”

Protestors hold up signs advocating for universal healthcare and to stop wars. (Manveen Kaur Anand)

Adriana Garcia, a speaker for the rally, said she wants housing for all, a living wage, immigration reform and protection for children from detention centers.
“A lot more than ever, we need to organize and unionize the working class,” she said. “We want justice for essential workers at home and in the workplace.”
She added that the pandemic has put essential workers at risk for COVID-19 and they should be protected.
“We need more protections to ensure our workers are safe, not just from their job, but from COVID,” Garcia said. “Just because they are poor, they are in areas, neighborhoods, families where they’re more likely to get COVID.”
Liliana Reyes, 49, who came from Castro Valley with the organization National Domestic Workers, said it’s necessary for her to support all of the workers in the world.
“As domestic workers, we need more help, especially on benefits,” Reyes said. “We need to be equal to all workers.”
Dan Gibson, 45, from San Jose, said that his work in the public sector made him come and support the middle and lower classes.
“My union works with various politicians and advocates to help the working class,” Gibson said. “We want to get involved and encourage people to participate in this.”
Rachel Atkins, 35, from San Jose, said she attended the rally because of her passion for the issue. She added that she wanted to support all workers in the Bay Area, not only those she works with.
“I believe that everybody has a right to a living wage,” she said. “They need healthcare, benefits, and other basic rights so that they can do the best they can with their lives.”