Coronavirus: Smaller May Day protests for hazard pay, better protections in midst of COVID-19 pandemic

RICHMOND, Calif. (KGO) -- A steady wind. The blasting of horns. And signs representing the times on this May Day 2020 outside an Amazon warehouse in Richmond amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

"Mayday has historically been about workers," said Erica Mighetto, who drives for Uber.

"This is the first Mayday I have done something big for. The first Mayday for me," added Adrienne Williams, the one person here who actually does work for Amazon, as a driver.

It was a small protest of workers and former workers for Whole Foods, Instacart, and other companies as gig workers in business environments made all the more difficult because of COVID-19. They want hazard pay and better protections.

RELATED: U.S. essential workers hold May Day strike, demand time off, hazard pay

Hence the protesting, "...because they're all the same. They all practice people over profits. And it is disgusting," said Mighetto.

One might argue that health fears contributed to keeping the turnout low, here.

RELATED: Reopening California: Huge crowd gathers in Sacramento, SF, SoCal to demand Gov. Newsom lift COVID-19 restriction

There were protests across the nation and the rest of the Bay Area on Friday. That afternoon, Governor Gavin Newsom acknowledged the spirit of this day. "I think it is a wonderful tradition. People protesting the status-quo. We could celebrate people for expressing themselves," he said.

Since the 1890's in Europe, May Day has always been about the workers and working conditions. Among them, Kaiser nurses in Oakland. "If the nurses are not safe, the community is not safe, and community is not safe," said Katy Roemer, speaking for everyone. "We are sick of being expendable. We are not expendable!"

On this Mayday, as any other, that is a universal theme made all the more urgent in the midst of a pandemic.

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