AF3IRM: Women’s Work Sustains Human Existence – This May Day, Support the True Value of Women’s Work!

Barbra Ramos, AF3IRM National Communications Director
323-813-4272, [email protected]

NATIONAL–AF3IRM salutes all workers on International Workers’ Day! We join the chorus of voices around the world fighting for the dignity and lives of workers in all sectors and for economic justice for our communities!

Today the scars of economic and social injustice have never been so apparent – the reality surrounding the current Baltimore uprising against police brutality and social inequality, where 52% of Freddie Gray’s community are unemployed; the case of Mary Jane Veloso, who was promised work as a maid in Indonesia and ended up trafficked as a drug mule and whose execution is temporarily on hold; and the growing use of detention centers run by private prison companies, that imprison women and children seeking asylum, such as the women in Texas staging hunger strikes to demand better conditions. Economic injustice manifests in different ways and as transnational, anti-imperialist feminists, we say no more!

This May Day, we continue to rise up against Capital’s systemic oppression and especially demand justice for women workers! We know that women the world over are underpaid and overworked – and women are pushed to provide not just for themselves, but for their immediate and extended families. Women are forced to leave their homelands or to spend more time away from their own homes and families just to make ends meet.

We cannot say it enough – this world we live in is sustained on the shoulders and backs of working women! It is the labor of women, especially im/migrant women – from the home to the office to the factory and to the fields – that supports all of our lives. Women’s work, both paid and unpaid, sustains our very existence!

We call on all to truly value women’s work. We must support campaigns to raise the minimum and tipped minimum wages, locally and nationally. Women make up two-thirds of minimum wage workers, as well as two-thirds of the low-wage, tipped workers, in sectors such as fast food, home care, and retail. We must also demand not just a livable wage, but a thrivable wage for women, especially women of color! Women continue to earn less than men in the United States – with Black women paid 64 cents, Latinas 56 cents, and Asian women 79 cents for every dollar a white man earns.

Value women’s work and fight for paid family and medical leave for all, affordable childcare, and ending discrimination against pregnant women and mothers in the workplace. Mothers earn up to 14% less than other women. Single mothers make 58 cents to every dollar a man makes and, in comparison to single fathers, are twice as likely to live in poverty. Regardless of race or ethnicity, women are more likely than men to be pushed to make that difficult choice to take time out from work or to work fewer hours so that they can care for children and/or family. It is imperative to support mothers and their families.

Truly valuing women’s work also means supporting boycotts of companies that exploit the labor of women workers, whether it is in a factory, the fields or in their stores. It is about participating in divest movements against companies, such as those that invest in Israel, that inevitably support the killings and genocide of peoples both directly and indirectly. It means opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership – that will only lead to more abuse of workers overseas and the absolute disregard for labor and environmental regulations. It is done in our decisions to join unions and to show support for those who raise their voices at the risk of losing their jobs.

Value women’s work and show it in our own lives and communities. It is not just the corporations who are complicit in women’s exploitation – it occurs in our homes and in how we choose to divide up the unpaid labor like making meals, laundry, or childcare; it is in our everyday interactions at restaurants and cafes and treating workers with respect; it is about choosing to support local businesses and cooperatives that do not depend on oppressing their workers.

This capitalist system is built on the backs of women, here in the United States and around the world. As transnational women of color, we resist the partriarchal obsession to oppress women into silence and compliance. We resist the replication of our peoples’ histories of economic oppression and labor exploitation in other countries. We resist the imperialist tactic of dividing women, whether it be from country to country or even from class to class. We know the stories of our sisters in Cambodia, India, China, Mexico, the Philippines, that work in factories and fields under terrible conditions and with the fear of death and rape.  We especially remember the women in the Bangladesh garment factory collapse two years ago and continue to demand safe working conditions. There are 24 million garment workers worldwide – with at least 80% women. We find our sisters flung across the globe – away from their homelands and families – to be domestic and home care workers. 83% of the the almost 53 million domestic workers worldwide are women, who face wage theft and often lack basic protections as employees.

We see and we hear you, sisters! As much as the system tries to silence and divide women workers, we know what happens in other countries, we witness what happens in our own workplaces, and we experience injustices every single day. As women, especially as transnational, im/migrant women of color, our struggles are bound to those of our sisters worldwide and our only acceptable responses are to demand change and to ultimately dismantle this imperialist patriarchal system. Our struggles as women – from violence against women to reproductive justice to police brutality to im/mmigrant rights – has taught us that we must respond. If we do nothing, then the system will take everything. If we women do not fight for our lives, then this capitalist system will only continue to exploit and even kill us. If we do not act now, then we doom ourselves, our children, and our collective futures.

Rise up, sisters! Join us and demand that our work as women is truly valued and together we will move closer to our liberation.







Central Coast (CA) | May Day 2015 International Workers’ Day Annual Community Rally
Time | 4:30pm Meet-up
Location | Meet at the clock tower in downtown Santa Cruz.
FB Invite:

Los Angeles & South Bay | DTLA May Day March
Time | 3:00pm Meet-Up
Location | Meet at the Chinatown Gates – Broadway & Cesar Chavez (look for the purple posters!)
For more info, contact: [email protected]
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New York | May Day Marchin’ with War Resisters League
Time | 4:30pm Meet-up
Location | Meet up outside of Strand Bookstore, 828 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
Take the 4,5,6,N,Q,R,L to Union Sq & then walk south on Broadway to Strand
For more info, contact: [email protected]
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Orange County | May Day March in Santa Ana
Time | 3:00pm Meet-up
Location | Sasscer Park, Santa Ana (near Ross St x 4th St)
For more info, contact: [email protected]
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San Diego | Womxn of Color Activism and Organizing Class Teach-In
Time | 3:00pm
AF3IRM San Diego coordinator Catherine Mendonça will speak to a class about her work as an activist.

San Francisco Bay Area | May Day Women’s Contingent with California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, Oakland
Join AF3IRM SF Bay Area as they march with California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, Oakland on May Day!
For more info, contact: [email protected]
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MORNING | Labor Against Police Terror- Rally and March
Time | 9:00am-1:00pm (Approx.)
Location | Meet at Port of Oakland then March to Oscar Grant Plaza
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NIGHT | May Day for Freddie Gray
Time | 7:00pm Meet-up
Location | Latham Square (Broadway and Telegraph), Oakland
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Central Coast | 9th Annual Social Justice Conference “Change Through Individual Action”
Time | 10am-4pm
Location | Cabrillo College – Crocker Theater, 6500 Croquel Drive, Aptos, CA 95003
AF3IRM Central Coast will be tabling and will present a workshop and speech at this conference.
For more info, contact: [email protected]
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