NEW YORK — About 100 labor activists, students and Occupy Wall Street protesters rallied in Union Square on Thursday in honor of International Workers’ Day.
The protesters raised their voices for causes including rights for immigrants living in the country illegally and an increase in the minimum wage. Several thousand unionized workers marked May Day with a rally near City Hall and a twilight march to Wall Street. Others gathered in Zuccotti Park, the site of the original Occupy encampment.
Bea Sabino, a nurse who came to the U.S. as a teenager from the Philippines, told the Union Square crowd that her story reflects those of hundreds of thousands of immigrants.
“My story is our immigration story because we all trace our roots to the socio-economic conditions in our home countries that push us to come here,” said Sabino, who spoke on behalf of the International Alliance for Filipino Concerns. “We’re calling for legalization, but we need to address the root causes of emigration. We all work under the same labor laws, but they’re not enforced.”
Sabino and a dozen others had scribbled on their arms the number for the National Lawyers Guild in case they got arrested.
Some protesters hoisted cutouts of butterflies in celebration of the sunny spring day. Others held signs with slogans including “Abolish Wage Slavery.”
Speakers at the City Hall rally ranged from union and political leaders, including City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Comptroller Scott Stringer, to the grandson of the late folk singer and activist Pete Seeger.
“We all know workers and immigrants are the backbone of this wonderful and great city,” Mark-Viverito said. “Their hard work, their dreams and their commitment to a brighter future are the engine for New York’s continued growth and success.”