Friday June 2, 2023
| Last update: Thursday at 1:47 PM

Colorado unions, community organizations march on May Day

By staff |
May 5, 2023
Read more articles in
Brandon Gehrke-Quintanilla speaks on May Day at the Colorado State Capitol.
Brandon Gehrke-Quintanilla speaks on May Day at the Colorado State Capitol. (Fight Back! News/staff)

Denver, CO - On May 1, about 300 rank-and-file union members, activists and members of the community came together at the Colorado State Capitol to celebrate International Workers Day, or May Day. This worker holiday originated in the United States, and commemorates the Haymarket Affair of 1886, where protesters fighting for an eight-hour workday were attacked and killed by police.

About 22 different unions were represented at the festivities, which included passionate speeches, live music, and a march from the State Capitol to Stoney's Bar and Grill, stopping between the Denver Public Library Central Branch and the Ralph L. Carr Judicial Center, where two key unions represented by CWA Local 7799 are located: DPL Workers United and Defender’s Union of Colorado. 

Many speakers talked about the significance of this event and the importance of organizing in solidarity. Brandon Gehrke-Quintanilla, a member of United Campus Workers and Students for a Democratic Society states, “May Day fought for the eight-hour workday, that was not something handed over, that was something we won as working people because we organized together in solidarity.” 

The event had an emphasis on “reclaiming” May Day, which many speakers talked about the importance of. Keegan Estrella, a member of the Teamsters Local 455 and Freedom Road Socialist Organization, said in his speech, “May Day is a working class holiday that is a celebration of the majority of people not just in this country, but in the entire world. It’s no wonder this celebration is being watered down, ignored, because the owning class is scared of the power of working people getting together to celebrate their history.” He also said, “reclaiming May Day means remembering the fight is not over, it means realizing we have to get organized to fight against our enemies!” 

After the speeches, the group marched to the Denver Public Library and the Ralph L. Carr Judicial Center, chanting in the streets about working class power. The march ended at Stoney’s Bar and Grill, where the participants celebrated a successful event that brought many organizations together.

Other unions and community groups that took part in the demonstration included United Campus Workers of Colorado, Students for a Democratic Society at Auraria Campus, CSU Grad Workers Organizing Coop, Starbucks Workers United, Colorado Musicians Union, Colorado Education Association, Alphabet Workers Union, Teamsters Local 455, Denver-Aurora Community Action Committee, SEIU 105, and Freedom Road Socialist Organization.