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Activists rally at Union Square for May Day labor protests

People joining the protests ranged from immigrants to jazz musicians.

Protesters march in the May Day protest. (Credit: Getty) Protesters march in the May Day protest. (Credit: Getty)

An array of activists, from immigrants to jazz musicians to Occupy Wall Street members, met at Union Square today for an annual May Day march for labor rights.

May Day has long been known for worldwide protests highlighting workers’ rights.

The rally occurred just after federal officials announced the number of workers who died as a result of Hurricane Sandy. In New York and New Jersey, 16 workers died, according to a U.S. Department of Labor spokesman.

May Day traditionally has also drawn scores of immigrants to rallies in New York City, calling for immigration reform and more possibilities for jobs and education.

“We are not criminals,” said Margarito Lopez, a Hot & Crusty worker, before the protest. “All we want is to look after and take care of our families.”

Workers rallying included musicians in a local union, who said artists playing the city’s toniest clubs are not always protected.

The Justice for Jazz Artists campaign, noting May Day followed International Jazz Day, says jazz club musicians do not always receive fair pay or have a way to complain if they think their rights were violated.

Also joining the march were Occupy Wall Street protesters, who started the day at New York University and continued through Union Square and City Hall.

Food service workers got started early with the annual event’s labor movement, protesting yesterday at the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

About a dozen workers went to the agency to ask that they only fund employers with careful business practices.

 
 
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