April 11, 2023
International Workers’ Day, also known as May Day, is a holiday focused on the working class that is celebrated all over the world. While Labor Day might be the most popular labor holiday in the US, International Workers’ Day is still an important day and a chance to celebrate the often underappreciated working class.
In this article, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about International Workers’ Day. From its history, importance, and how to celebrate it, you’ll be ready to give your employees’ the appreciation they deserve and celebrate International Workers’ Day.
What is International Workers’ Day
So what is International Workers’ Day? Where did it come from, and why do we celebrate it? Let’s take a look at the long and storied history of International Workers’ day, as well as the importance of May 1st in relation to workers’ rights.
History of International Workers’ Day in the US
As mentioned earlier, International Workers’ Day is also known as May Day. The history of May Day long predates its relation to International Workers’ Day, originally coming from European Pagan traditions (like many other holidays). The traditions were brought to the US as well, but they weren’t connected to the labor movement until many years later.
In 1886, the American Federation of Labor designated May 1st as the date for a nationwide strike. They were fighting for an 8 hour workday, and the strike was an attempt to demand the change in work hours.
In Chicago, labor rights groups and labor activists followed through with the strike. However, things turned violent as police attacked those on strike, and the violence continued into following days. The event became known as the Haymarket Affair, and is a landmark event in the history of labor and workers’ rights.
Following all of this, the International Socialist Conference labeled May Day a labor holiday in 1889. Labor groups began celebrating the holiday, and it slowly grew in popularity over the years as people advocated for it to become a federal holiday.
Post War World II, the Cold War and its anti-communist and anti-labor attitudes led to the holiday being largely ignored. President Eisenhower designated May 1st “Law Day” (a celebration of the rule of law) instead of a workers’ holiday as a way to undermine the labor movements of the time.
Over time, the holiday gained traction in the US. As Cold War ideas about labor and socialism slowly began to fade, more and more saw the day as a celebration of the working class, labor rights, and the efforts of labor activists. May 1st has also become a common day for protests, strikes, and other labor related political events.
How International Workers’ Day is Celebrated
The US may celebrate International Workers’ Day, but we are far from the only ones to celebrate it. The holiday is celebrated in various countries all around the world, and it is celebrated in many different ways.
For example, Canada also celebrates the holiday. In Quebec specifically, it is often the date of union and labor centric protests, demonstrations, and events. It is also the day when minimum wage increases are enacted in the country, an acknowledgement of the holiday’s importance.
In Chile, it is a national holiday. All stores and public services must close on May 1st, and the major unions and labor groups organize events. They typically start with rallies in the morning, and then end with parties in the evening.
Though International Workers’ Day may be celebrated differently in various countries, one thing ties them all together—labor. All of these celebrations focus on labor, the working class, the contributions of labor activists, unions, and workers’ rights.
Why it is Important to Acknowledge and Appreciate Employees
With the history covered, let’s move on to the present and why it is important to acknowledge and appreciate employees.
First and foremost, employees should be acknowledged and appreciated because they deserve it. Your employees work hard every day to do their jobs and help your organization succeed. Without them, you would have nothing. They are the ones that make your business’ success possible, so they deserve recognition and appreciation for their contributions.
Another reason why you should appreciate your employees is because it helps create a positive work culture. A positive work culture benefits everyone, from the owner down to the employees. People feel happier, more motivated, more productive, and more engaged. They want to come to work and do their best. The benefits of a positive work culture are numerous.
One example is retention. According to a Bonusly survey, 46% of workers said they left a job due to being unappreciated. Employees who feel valued and appreciated are much more likely to stay with your organization instead of leaving. If you have a positive work culture that values employees, you can increase retention and keep your teams together.
Another example is engagement and motivation. It’s no secret that people like to have their work recognized, and it can directly improve engagement and motivation. When employees are appreciated for their work, they are more likely to take ownership of their work and want to do the best job possible. Recognition can help them feel more connected to their work, engaged in their work, and ready to help the company achieve their goals.
How to Celebrate International Workers’ Day 2023
Lastly, let’s look at how to celebrate International Workers’ Day 2023. With more focus on the labor movement in recent years, it’s important to celebrate Workers’ Day this year and ensure your employees get the recognition they deserve.
International Workers’ Day can be celebrated in many different ways, as is seen when looking at celebrations in different countries. Don’t be afraid to have some fun and get creative in how you celebrate. Here are some ideas you can try out for International Workers’ Day 2023.
Nothing beats having some fun in the sunshine, and an outdoor celebration is a great idea for International Workers’ Day. BBQs and picnics are one of the most common ways to celebrate the holiday all over the world. And you can make your BBQ or picnic a lot more interesting than just another party.
An outdoor celebration is a great opportunity for all sorts of events and activities, like rewards for employees, gifts, competitions, or team building activities to help your team grow and better their teamwork skills. For example, our Go Team Scavenger Hunts are a great opportunity to have some fun and give your employees let loose, all while bettering their teamwork skills.
Volunteering is another great way to celebrate Workers’ Day. Giving back makes you feel better, so share that feeling with your employees via volunteer activities or charity events.
Find out what groups or causes your employees are passionate about, and then figure out how you can get involved. For example, say your employees care about climate change. You could sponsor or put on a charity raffle for a climate change organization, and give your employees the chance to participate in and enjoy the events.
Conversely, you could get involved directly. If your employees are passionate about litter, you could organize an event to clean up local areas and celebrate with a picnic or BBQ afterwards.
Employee wellness and mental health have become a big talking point in recent years, and for good reason. Employees should be able to have normal and healthy lives in and outside of work.
Celebrating Workers’ Day by focusing on employee wellness is a fantastic way to show you care about and value your employees. Consider seminars or events that focus on wellness and mental health, like our laughter yoga event.
Fun Team Building Games
Another way to celebrate Workers’ Day is by giving your team a break with fun team building activities. You can let your employees have some fun with their coworkers, all while bettering their skills and teamwork.
Our mystery bus event is a perfect choice for Workers’ Day. You can give your employees a fun experience traveling around your city and solving mysteries, and you can build their skills as a team as well.
Your team may be scattered across the country or even the globe, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring them all together for an International Workers’ Day Celebration. There are tons of virtual and hybrid events you can use to celebrate your employees and develop their skills, no matter where they are located.
Give a Gift to Employees
It might be the most straightforward way to show appreciation, but it’s an old standard for a reason. Giving a gift to your employees is one of the most direct ways you can show support and appreciation. Whether it’s giftcards to local businesses or custom jackets, taking the time to give a thoughtful gift can go a long way.
That said, a gift shouldn’t be your only way to celebrate Workers’ Day. Just giving a gift can come across as just paying your way out of it, so be sure to celebrate your workers in other ways too.
Celebrate Your Employees on International Workers’ Day
For centuries, workers have dedicated their time and effort to their jobs. Over those years, they also fought for their rights and for standards in the workplace, helping eliminate child labor, giving us the 5-day work week, 8 hour work days, and much more.
So this International Workers’ Day, take the time to celebrate your employees and all of their hard work. Besides being the right thing to do, it can help boost motivation, engagement, retention, and more. Give them the appreciation they deserve with the help of Local Express. We have a huge selection of events that are perfect for Workers’ Day, so get in touch with us today!