MayWorks Washington is a month-long festival throughout the month of May celebrating labor culture and history in Washington State. Festival events also focus on working class issues and labor arts such as music, poetry, photography, dance, drama, and the visual arts. In 2012, delegates at the Washington State Labor Council’s annual convention voted to work to raise their voices – to start a tradition of MayWorks, a festival of workers’ art and culture. Riffing on the theme of “Bread and Roses” to celebrate the centennial of the pivotal strike of 1912, our first MayWorks celebration occurred throughout the state that year. Venues included the Labor Education & Research Center at South Seattle Community College, the 2012 conference of the Pacific Northwest Labor History Association, and the Northwest Folklife Festival which showcased workers’ art and culture with concerts, art exhibits, a contest for short videos of 3-5 minutes, oral history presentations, and a variety of workshops and performances. Audiences were engaged with the meaning and value of the role that workers and unions play in our everyday lives and the culture of our communities.
The PNLHA Annual Conference and Kick off Event are actually part of MayWorks 2015 as well, find out more about them here! The MayWork Committee is always trying to add more events–if you are in Washington, consider adding your own labor event in May to the calendar!