International Workers Day 2020 pivotal for labor

In the midst of an unprecedented public health crisis, International Workers’ Day, or Labour Day, celebrated on May 1 around the world, comes at an important and pivotal moment for labor. As chair for the Filipino American National Historical Society — Hawai‘i State Chapter, Kaua‘i Historical Committee and being involved in the labor movement, I find it critical to juxtapose the 1886 Haymarket affair in Chicago, the 1924 Hanapepe Massacre (article on FANHS research in Sept. 9, 2019, issue of The Garden Island), and the current COVID-19 pandemic to illustrate that the relationship between capitalism and labor is not only rife with intense conflict, but we can also learn from labor’s sacrifices. It may be a difficult conversation, but there is no better time than now to talk about the protections that labor needs.