The group’s research and policy director, Howard Greenwich, says May Day is a rare opportunity to make their voices heard.

“I think most workers have a really difficult time seeing a bigger picture they’re part of, and how the work they do and their jobs are not some kind of natural result of economic forces, but are choices made by people with lots of money and influence.”

Greenwich predicts this year’s protests will swell across the country, as people in high-paying jobs realize that they have more in common with low-wage workers than they might have guessed.

“What’s different is that the great recession revealed that the middle class was in the same boat – but hidden behind this speculative real estate bubble. I have hope that we’re entering into a period where there’s more and broader shared understanding of what’s really happening.”

The Seattle event is being called the “March for Immigrant and Workers’ Rights.” Two separate groups will rally in Judkins and Westlake parks, and merge in downtown.

And, although it is a controversial strategy, the Occupy movement is suggesting that people who do not march send their own protest messages – by skipping school or work, and by not shopping or banking on May 1.

– Chris Thomas