A Hemispheric Call to Mobilize Against the Exploitation and Persecution of Migrant Workers

The majority of displaced workers who migrate to the U.S. come from Mexico. In second place are those coming from Central America and the Caribbean and next workers coming from South America. Recognizing this, we propose strategy of popular mobilization to end the exploitation, victimization and repression of migrant workers around the world.

Mobilizations by the large workers federations, women’s, students, and indigenous organizations in Latin America, the Caribbean and North America are key to a solution There is a tradition of solidarity in this region that is yet to be fully expressed. Global labor mobilizations will also help overcome any hesitancy on the part of US unions to fully recognize and support their migrant worker comrades.

Likewise, traditionally Latin American students have mobilized in defense of peoples’ rights, not only those in their own countries, but they have also in solidarity with international struggles. Understanding that global migration impacts students personally, we must appeal to all students to support this cause: both from the high schools and the universities. Today’s student is tomorrows (migrant) worker!

Our objective therefore is to mobilize the largest amounts possible of unions and popular organizations for May Day 2009. This will require of an education campaign and connections with all levels of leaders and grassroots members in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean.

We must propose legislation that guarantees human and labor rights for all workers, including those who migrate. The global expansion of capital, often with the complicity of local capital, generates large masses of unemployed workers, many of whom are forced to leave their home countries in search of work. Just as we defend the right to migrate, we should stand for the right to employment and dignified living at home. We must follow the example of the mass mobilizations of 2006 in the U.S. that defeated the punitive legislation with which the US House of Representatives attempted to criminalize undocumented workers and their supporters.


We propose that students and workers and social movements in Latin America, the Caribbean, Canada and Quebec carry out actions on April 30–the day before May Day which is a holiday in all countries except the U.S.–to demand that the United States ceases its abusive treatment of undocumented migrant workers.

That Day of Action can include of demonstrations in front of U.S. embassies, labor actions at large U.S.-based or owned companies, or educational events about the mistreatment of migrant workers and the need to change that situation.

May Day can include a report on the actions carried out the day before and statements indicating the determination of continuing to struggle until human and labor rights are granted to migrant workers.

Meanwhile, in the U.S. where May Day is not a holiday, we should continue our tradition to carry out marches and demonstrations demanding rights for migrant workers and their families. We will be able to report on the activities carried out throughout Latin America and the Caribbean the day before.

These actions must be carried out in the historical spirit of the struggles for the eight-hour work day, which was an international struggle, and which ended with the execution of the Martyrs of Chicago.

We must build on the work done within the United Nations. The international convention on the protection of the rights of migrant workers and their families was adopted by the General Assembly through its resolution 45/158 on December 18, 1990.

  • Eighteen years later the United States and the European countries have not yet signed the convention.
  • Conversely, some of the countries that signed the convention, such as Mexico, do not respect it.

    We must work then so that the countries that didn't sign do so, and those who signed it uphold its principles in practice.

    Presented by the Boston May Day Committee

    Formed in 2006 to connect migrant struggles with the global and historical struggles of workers, the Boston May Day Committee supports the May Day mobilizations by millions of workers in the United States; it rejects “immigration reforms” that provide migrant workers with any less rights than those with full citizenship.

    The committee helps organize community-based responses to state-sponsored and other attacks on workers. It uses the World Social Forum process to build coordinated global and transnational responses by workers, students, women, indigenous people and their supporters to increase the power of migrant workers and their families. A similar proposal was presented at the Social Forum of the Americas in Guatemala, 2008 and previously at the World Social Forum in Kenya, 2007.

    www.bostonmayday.org ~ www.fsa-migrantes.org