Hundreds of laborers, advocates and elected officials gathered in Lower Manhattan for a May Day rally and march on Monday. Also known as Workers Day — each year, on May first, workers around the world celebrate the historic struggles and accomplishments of workers and the labor movement.
“I am a professional nanny with 17 years of experience in New York City,” Meches Rosales Mopin said.
Since the pandemic began, Mopin says making ends meet as a nanny has gotten extremely difficult.
“They want to pay less than what we used to get before the pandemic,” she said.
She says she is grateful that she has a two-income household. Her husband helps with expenses like health insurance.
Many domestic workers, however, say they live without healthcare or unemployment benefits.
“People that doesn’t have insurance, we go to the free clinics,” Mopin said. “We use the free clinics and we pay out of pocket.”
She is part of the New York City Coalition for Domestic Workers, which includes private maids and home health attendants.
They joined hundreds of workers from across the labor force for a May Day rally and march in Lower Manhattan Monday.
While celebrating the history of the labor movement, they gathered in Washington Square Park in the morning with a list of specific demands for lawmakers, including an increase in the minimum wage and better unemployment benefits.
“I’m one of many laid-off workers in the media and tech industry,” Evan Kleinman said.
The video producer among the thousands of workers in the tech and media industries who’ve been laid off in recent months. He said he is having trouble supporting his family of three.
“The unemployment rate should be much higher. Right now it’s only $507 dollars a week,” Kleinman said. “It’s very low if you want to live on New York City.”
Many workers say they want to see the Secure Jobs Act passed, introduced by Councilmember Tiffany Caban. It would prohibit employers from firing workers without a just cause.
Tiffany Munroe, who is part of the group, Caribbean Equality Project, says she’s been discriminated against at a warehouse job for being a trans woman before being fired in 2021.
“Passing the secure jobs at would protect not only everyone, all workers, it’ll definitely protect, too, the LGBTQ undocumented workers,” Munroe said.
The City Council is still considering the legislation. And Rosales Mopin hopes that consideration is swayed by Monday’s action.
“Be on the right side of history and protect workers because we make New York City go around,” Mopin said. “Especially domestic workers. We are at home and you can have your American Dream.”
In 2021, the City Council passes a law requiring bosses to have just cause for firing fast-food workers. Supporters of the Secure Jobs Act want those protections extended to all workers.
Last week Gov. Hochul announced a framework to deal with both houses of the state legislature for her 229-billion-dollar state budget. That version includes an increase in the minimum wage — one of the demands May Day protesters made.