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Welcome to MayWorks 2014

Posted April 4th, 2014

Welcome to MayWorks 2014 and the Festival of Labour and the Arts. MayWorks is dedicated to the art and lives of working people. MayWorks celebrates this through artistic expressions and events that reflect the struggles, aspirations and dreams of working people.

May begins with one of the most significant celebrations for working people, International Working Class Day on May 1 and it is a fitting beginning for MayWorks.

This year is the 95th Anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike and there are three offerings to mark this occasion. The first is the launch of a new book about the Winnipeg General Strike. This is followed on Saturday, May 24 with a graveside memorial service for Mike Sokolowski one of two strikers known to have died because of the events on “Bloody Saturday” June 21, 1919. Culminating our special acknowledgement of this anniversary is a bus tour on Sunday May 25 of the locations synonymous with the Strike.

The passing of two activists: one local, Nick Ternette and one on the international stage, Pete Seeger requires special mention. Both were social and political activists who devoted their lives to the cause of working people. Both are honoured in the Festival. MayWorks 2014 is dedicated to Nick and on May 9 there is a tribute concert to Pete Seeger.

No introduction to the Festival would be complete without recognizing the importance of the union support we receive and the artists who have responded to be part of the Festival.
Whatever your interest we invite you to come and participate in the events that are part this year’s MayWorks Festival of Labour and the Arts.

Glenn Michalchuk
President MayWorks Festival of Labour and the Arts

MayWorks 2013 Invites You to be a part of the Festival

Posted January 30th, 2013

MayWorks Festival of Labour and the Arts invites submissions for MayWorks 2013 to be held in the month of May 2013.

MayWorks is a multi-disciplinary festival that focuses on the relationship between working class issues and their artistic expression in song, poetry, photography, dance, drama or art.

The theme for MayWorks 2013 is “Another World is Possible”.

We invite you to contact MayWorks if you are interested in making a proposal for an event. The deadline for submissions is midnight on Friday, February 8, 2013. For a submission form or more information contact MayWorks at

WOODY TURNS 100: Winnipeg folk scene gathers to celebrate Woody Guthrie’s centennial!

Posted May 9th, 2012

The prolific Songs & Music of Woody Guthrie are interpreted by Winnipeg’s leading lights in the folk music community as they celebrate the 100th birthday of “America’s tuning fork”. Presented by the MayWorks Festival of Labour and the Arts, on May 17 at the West End Cultural Centre join the Magnificent Sevens, Sweet Alibi, JD Edwards, Leonard Podolak, Tim Osmond, Lindsay Jane, and Hugo Torres Cereceda in honouring the work of Woody Guthrie which continues to lead and inspire others to change the world through song.

Woody Guthrie documented the struggles of working class people and his body of work, which contains more than 3000 songs, is unparalleled. This year, Guthrie becomes the first artist to receive the Songwriters Hall of Fame Pioneer Award which honours the career of a historic musician that has influenced generations of songwriters. The concert on May 17 at the West End Cultural Centre (WECC) will feature his best known songs and most memorable stories and recitations performed by Winnipeg’s own working class heroes; musicians who share Guthrie’s passion for truth, fairness, and justice for all.

The centennial celebration presents a performance by acoustic five-piece The Magnificent Sevens who fuse punk rock roots with bluegrass instruments. Familiar with the nomadic lifestyle of Woody Guthrie, their strong work ethic keeps them on the road touring Canada and beyond. The band released their second album, All Kinds of Mean, in December of 2011. Sharing the stage is roots trio Sweet Alibi who return home from their west coast tour to celebrate Guthrie by weaving their sweet harmonies over ukulele, banjo, and guitar.

Also on the bill are well known singer-songwriter JD Edwards and multi-instrumentalist Leonard Podolak. JD has been captivating crowds with the JD Edwards Band while fans are most familiar with Leonard’s alt-Celtic roots band, The Duhks. In addition to their solo projects and collaborations, Edwards and Podolak have been touring internationally with Nathan Rogers as a trio, Dry Bones. They can be seen this summer at the Winnipeg and Edmonton folk festivals, as well as Summerfolk in Owen Sound, Ontario.

The birthday bash includes sets by Lindsay Jane, a solo acoustic act who has been on regular rotation on SIRIUS/XM the Coffee House music channel since 2009, and Hugo Torres Cereceda brings a world-beat and Latin influence to the evening with pan flute and classical guitar. Winnipeg’s most sought after bluegrass banjo player, and founding member of Home Routes, Tim Osmond will also strum tunes in honour of Guthrie.

The concert is held at the West End Cultural Centre, a popular venue known for bringing in local and larger touring acts, while serving the community through programming music lessons, workshops, and family friendly events. The venue also relies on the hard work of volunteers who help with various duties at each event. The WECC was recently awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver Certification for their efforts in building an environmentally sustainable venue.

The 2012 MayWorks Festival of Labour and the Arts is a multi-disciplinary festival that focuses on the relationship between working class issues and their artistic expression in song, poetry, photography, dance, drama or art. The festival runs from April 27 – June 2 at venues throughout the city.

Join some of Winnipeg’s finest folk musicians in celebrating the Songs & Music of Woody Guthrie for his 100th birthday at the West End Cultural Centre on May 17 at 8:00 pm. Tickets are $20, available at West End Cultural Centre, Organic Planet, and Mondragon. Full festival details available at


Media Contact: Nat Felicitas | 998-4748 |

Walk honours workers killed on the job

Posted April 27th, 2012

“Men, women and children solemnly walked from the Union Centre to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights to honour workers who have been injured or killed on the job.

Marie Gravoso, 17, from the Maples Collegiate Amnesty International club, was asked to speak about this year’s SAFE Workers of Tomorrow Leaders’ Walk theme — the connection between human rights and worker safety.

“There are many people who are dying and being injured because they don’t know they have the right to ask questions,” said Gravoso.

The walk is the largest Day of Mourning event in Manitoba. About 300 people, including 170 students, took part this year. They did so to remind us not only of those who’ve died or been injured on the job, but also of the work that still needs to be done.

People need to realize injuries are not inevitable, the walkers stated.”

By: Kelly Graham, Winnipeg Free Press, April 27, 2012

NATIONAL DAY OF MOURNING: Remembering lives lost and people injured on the job

Posted April 26th, 2012

April 24, 2012

Winnipeg – The MayWorks Festival of Labour and the Arts launches this Friday, April 27 with a youth-led march, hosted by SAFE Workers of Tomorrow , in honour of the National Day of Mourning. The march departs at 12:00 PM from the Manitoba Federation of Labour Union Centre at 275 Broadway.

Celebrated nationally on April 28, the day serves to remember workers killed or injured on the job and aims to publicly renew the commitment to making workplaces safer for everyone. On April 28, the Manitoba Federation of Labour will host a candlelight vigil, also in conjunction with the festival and the National Day of Mourning, at 6:00 PM in Room 2C, Union Centre at 275 Broadway.

In 2010, workplace deaths in Canada were reported at 1014*, an increase from 939 the previous year. This represents more than 2.78 deaths every day. This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the Nova Scotia Westray Mine Disaster, which claimed the lives of 26 workers and prompted an amendment to the Criminal Code of Canada. On March 31, 2004, the legislation of the Westray bill passed and established new legal duties for workplace health and safety.

SAFE Workers of Tomorrow organizes their efforts to bring public awareness, education, and training in workplace safety and health. The Manitoba Federation of Labour is the province’s central labour body and represents the interests of CLC affiliated unions in Manitoba.
The 2012 theme for MayWorks Festival of Labour and the Arts is “Change the World”. The multi-disciplinary festival focuses on the relationship between working class issues and their artistic expression in song, poetry, photography, dance, drama or art. Join us in changing the world and celebrating the struggle for worker rights from April 27 to June 2 at venues throughout the city!


Media Contact: Nat Felicitas | 998-4748 |

*Fatalities accepted in 2010 according to “Number of Fatalities, by Jurisdiction 1993-2010” summary table, statistics from the Association of Workers Compensation Boards of Canada.