May Day Action Toolkit

On this day, we are raising awareness that workers are rising. There are more workers than people in power, and this is why we must amplify workers’ voices until bad employers and institutions are ready to listen and bring change. This is an opportunity to engage in action, experience solidarity, and support.

This May Day, we: grow a movement, continue to build worker power, and demand for better protections and standards for workers!

In this toolkit, you will find ways you can take action on May Day. The power is with you! In addition, you will find posters, flyers, slogans, chants, and more.

Sign up to take action in your neighbourhood
Download the Toolkit

Workers are rising! Join the movement now!

May 1st is International Workers’ Day. Workers will be taking action for their rights across the province.

At this stage in the COVID-19 pandemic, workers understand more than ever that they deserve better protections and fair treatment. We’re mobilizing this momentum toward a just recovery.

It’s time to redistribute power and mobilize cross-sector and across the province, putting solidarity in action by demanding a safe and equitable future for all. Our Workers are Rising campaign encompasses our Network’s collective visions for the future as precarious and non-unionized workers across “B.C.”

How?

  1. Print tool kit materials and take action with friends and family
  2. Check out this page for an action near you
  3. You can also register here as a lead action taker
    1. Pick a time and location
    2. Small is beautiful. Invite your coworkers, friends, and family. We must start small to grow!
    3. Once your action is registered, we will follow up with you to offer support
    4. Day of Action! Prepare and bring all materials.
    5. And finally, please take photos so we can share on our social media

Where can this take place?

Your own neighbourhood, to start with!

If you are strapped for time, or have accessibility concerns – taking action can start right at your doorstep! All you need is to find a street pole to put up a poster.

If you are able to, heading to locations with high visibility and high volume can be extremely effective.

Whether you are chalking sidewalks, putting up posters, or handing out flyers, here are some locations that you may want to consider:

  • MLA Offices
  • Busy street corners and intersections
  • Public Parks
  • Near public transport hubs
  • Food courts at malls
  • Plazas and public squares

If you are in Vancouver, some specific locations you may want to consider taking action are:

  • Around Commercial-Broadway Station
  • Vancouver City Hall
  • Granville Street
  • Burrard Station
  • Waterfront Station
  • Lonsdale Quay

Examples for taking action

  • Chalking slogans on streets (click here for slogans)
  • Holding creative signs with slogans
  • Postering all 4 corners of a street (click here for posters)
  • Holding a pots and pans rally
  • Setting up a table with hot chocolate and sharing know your rights materials (click here for Know Your Rights pamphlet)
  • Poster outside your MLA office
  • Giving out flyers and pamphlets to pedestrians at busy corners
  • Creative costumes for a cause (i.e. superheroes for paid sick days)
  • Cyclist caravan

Talking Points to Use

Depending on the kind of action you are doing – here are some talking points you may use, regarding some of our campaigns and what rights workers have. You may find these beneficial if you have a table set up, are inviting people to take a WSN or Know-Your-Rights flyer, or even if you simply get questions about what you are doing and who WSN is.

In addition, if you are handing out flyers or pamphlets, you may use these talking points to try and get the attention of passerby’s. See Tips and Tricks for more information.

Please do not feel like you have to memorize every talking point or have every answer. Pick one to focus your action around, and ensure you have 3-4 talking points handy.

May Day Talking Points

  • Did you know May 1st is International Workers’ Day?
  • Did you know that workers across B.C. are taking action for their rights right now, and you can be a part of this movement?
  • May 1st is International Workers’ Day. Every year on May 1st, millions of workers across the world commemorate the historic struggles and gains made by workers, labour unions, and the labour movement.
  • Today, on May Day, workers across BC are taking action. We are using May Day to raise awareness that workers are rising, and the labour movement is still fighting.

Worker Solidarity Network Talking Points

  • Have you heard about the Worker Solidarity Network?
  • The Worker Solidarity Network consists of non-unionized and precarious workers across B.C. that advocate for our rights and interests as workers while taking collective action to improve labour standards for all
  • Some of the campaigns we have been involved in include
    • 10 paid sick days
    • Ending the liquor server wage
    • Justice Delayed is Justice Denied: currently due to lack of resources, workers face immense obstacles and delays trying to receive justice through the employment standards branch. We have been campaigning to ensure workers receive the timely justice that they deserve.

Workers Rising Campaign

  • Do you believe workers deserve better protections and fair treatment?
  • Did you know that workers across B.C. are rising up for their rights as we speak?
  • The Workers Solidarity Network is bringing workers across BC together under the Workers Rising Campaign to demand and win the rights and protections we need as workers. What do you believe workers need right now? As part of workers rising we are demanding (see demands list below)
  • As part of this campaign, we run free online workshops including our wage theft clinic, have campaigned on the provincial level for 10 Paid Sick Days for all, have participated in various other actions and campaigns such as workplace campaigns, and bring workers together on a monthly organizing call to take action together. Does any of this interest you?
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that workers need and deserve better protections and fair treatment. We are mobilizing workers that have understood this towards winning a just recovery that includes and represents the needs of the working class.

Demands

  • Job protection legislation
  • At least 10 paid sick days
  • Full, permanent immigration #StatusforAll
  • Acting in support of Indigenous sovereignty
  • Protecting gratuities
  • Supporting the decriminalization of sex work
  • Ending racism, discrimination and ableism in the workplace
  • Supporting migrant worker’s rights advocacy
  • Closing the enforcement gap on employment standards
  • Ending gender-based violence and sexual harassment at work
  • Living wage
  • And more

Know Your Rights Talking Points

  • Are you familiar with your rights as a worker?
  • Do you know what wage theft is? Do you know what the most common top 5 forms of wage theft are and how to protect yourself against them?
  • Do you know what to do if you believe you are having your rights as a worker violated?
  • Do you know what the protections BC gives workers and where to find them?

Top 5 Forms of Wage Theft

  • Denied Overtime: Daily overtime is time-and-a half after you’ve worked 8 hours. Weekly overtime is time-and-a half after you’ve worked more than 40 hours in a week.
  • Unpaid “off-the-clock” work: You should never have to start work early or stay late beyond your paid hours.
  • Missing severance pay: If you’ve worked for 3 months or more, you might be entitled to severance pay if you’re fired without proper advanced notice or cause. Severance pay increases the longer you’ve worked at a place.
  • Illegal Deductions: Employers can’t deduct from your pay or tips for things like broken dishes/glasses, customer theft, or as punishment for poor work performance. If you must wear a uniform then the employer must give it to you.
  • Receiving no pay at all: You must get paid at least twice a month and receive a pay stub with the hours you worked, rate(s) of pay, total earnings and deductions. You must be paid in cash, cheque, or by direct deposit.
  • If you would like to learn more about wage theft, and how to protect yourself against it, the Worker Solidarity Network has regular free online workshops you can register to attend! Find more information in our materials!

Staying Safe

While all these actions are very low-risk actions, it is important to stay safe; both in the context of COVID-19, and when taking any sort of action. Below are some tips on how to stay safe, divided into general safety and COVID-19 safety:

General Safety:

  • If hosting a workers rising rally, have a buddy system
  • If someone becomes confrontational, DO NOT debate; calmly walk away
  • If someone is being confrontational, stay in public
  • If you will be doing a lot of walking, make sure to bring water and stay hydrated
  • If you will be out for long periods of time, consider bringing snacks. If it’s a sunny day, sunglasses/sunscreen and a hat; if it’s a cold day, wear extra layers
  • Charge your phone before you go out!

COVID-19 Safety:

  • Always wear a mask. You never know who you may be interacting with that may be immunocompromised or a carrier
  • Bring hand sanitizer along, always sanitize your hands
  • Respect peoples’ space. When talking to them, ensure you stay a safe distance apart

Tips and Tricks

  • Remember that at the end of the day, engaging people is a numbers game! Do not get disheartened if many people do not stop to chat to you, they may just be in a rush!
  • Try and be discerning of who may or may not be receptive to stop and chat.
    • If someone has earbuds, appears to visibly be in a rush, or is on the phone, they’re less likely to stop by
    • On the contrary, folks who are sitting down or visibly relaxing (e.g. sitting down in parks, food courts) are more likely to be willing to chat
  • Be prepared with a few short one-liners you can use to approach folks on the street!
    • It does not have to be perfect or cover everything – just needs to get someone’s attention!
    • Don’t be afraid to play around and experiment to find what works best!
    •  See talking points section (see page 3) for a few example one-liners
  • When engaging passerbys, remember to be friendly, approach with a smile, and ensure you are speaking at a volume that can be heard
    • Feel free to practice with anyone accompanying you to build up confidence if you need it!
    • A simple “hi!” followed by your one-liner is sufficient to attract the attention you need
    • Upon hearing you, some folks  may simply continue walking by. This is fine!
    • If upon hearing you, someone states disinterest or disagreement, that’s also fine! Thank them and wish them a good day anyhow, and keep trying!
    • Remember that time spent trying to convince one person is time you could reach out to ten others. Try not to debate but move on if someone disagrees!
  • Do not feel like you have to know the answers to all possible questions you may be asked, it is fine to say you’re not sure/need to look something up yourself or admit you do not know something.
  • If it is absolutely okay to refer to your printed materials.

Slogans

It’s time for a living wage! Equal Pay is the Way! Status for All!
Better Job Protection

Workers Rights 

are Human Rights!

(Your location) is a union town!

We work hard, 

have some respect

Fight for the 

dignity of labour

Safety is NO accident

Climate Justice 

is Labour Justice

The boss needs you

You don’t need the boss

Don’t Mourn! Organize!
Justice Delayed is Justice Denied! There is power within the union! United we bargain

Chants

  • The workers united will never be defeated (repeat)
  • Aint no power but the power of the workers, and the power of the workers won’t stop!
  • When the working class is under attack, what are we going to do?
    Stand up, fight back!
  • Who got the power?
    We got the power!
    What kind of power?
    Worker power!
  • Are you ready to fight?
    Damm right!
  • Hey Hey!
    Ho Ho!
    Corporate greed has got to go! 
  • Exploitation ain’t the way
    Workers deserve fair pay!
  • No Justice, No Peace!
  • What’s appalling? Union-busting! What’s outrageous? Stagnant wages!

Materials

Below you will find various materials you can print out to distribute. Included are:

Here is a checklist of materials for various actions you may want to use:

  • Posters
  • Flyers
  • Pamphlets
  • Chalk
  • Printed chants
  • Printed slogans
  • Petition
  • Banners
  • Signs
  • Extra Masks
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Pens
  • Clipboards
  • A table
  • Pots, Pans
  • Full water bottle
  • Extra layers
  • Snacks
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen

Join the Workers Rising Movement

At this stage in the COVID-19 Pandemic, workers understand better than ever that they deserve better protections and fair treatment. We’re mobilizing this momentum towards a just recovery.

It’s time to redistribute power and mobilize cross-sector and across the province, putting solidarity in action by demanding a safe and equitable future for all. This campaign encompasses our network’s collective visions for our future as precarious and non-unionized workers across “B.C.”

WE ARE DEMANDING:

  • Job protection legislation
  • At least 10 paid sick days
  • Full, permanent immigration #StatusforAll
  • Acting in support of Indigenous sovereignty
  • Protecting gratuities
  • Supporting the decriminalization of sex work
  • Ending racism, discrimination and ableism in the workplace
  • Supporting migrant worker’s rights advocacy
  • Closing the enforcement gap on employment standards
  • Ending gender-based violence and sexual harassment at work
  • Living wage
  • And more

 

DOWNLOAD THE TOOLKIT AND PRINT THE PETITION TO GET WORKERS TO JOIN THE WORKERS RISING CAMPAIGN AND THE WORKER SOLIDARITY NETWORK