May the 1st, Mayday. We’ve all seen pilots in the movies calling mayday on the radio when their aircraft is in trouble. That has nothing to do with May 1st but comes from the French expression m’aidez which in English means help me. May 1st is actually International Worker’s Day, the real Labour Day, to honour the struggles of working people around the world and is recognized as such except in two countries, Canada and the United States even though it began in North America in the 1880’s with the fight for an 8 hour workday. Up until May 1st, 1886, workers were forced into 10, 12, and even 14 hour days ( I know, some small business owners today have to do that just to survive, and ladder-climbing employees who want to be upwardly mobile do it because….well, I guess you’d have to ask them). Anyway, in May, 1886 there was a big fracas between police and strikers in Chicago that caused a lot of repercussions to the extent that everybody: the state, business and union leaders, even the media wanted to hide the real history. So the U.S. government came up with the September Labour Day and say May 1st is only celebrated by the “other guys” over in Moscow’s Red Square. Canada observes the 1st Monday in September as well as we know whose significance is it’s the last long weekend of summer and is a great day to watch football and drink beer.
That’s Coffeetalk. I’m Vic Dubois.