The Kilusang Mayo Uno espouses the revolutionary tradition of the Filipino Working Class which has its roots in the formation of the country’s first trade union, the Union Impresores y Litografos de Filipinas in 1892, to the 1896 Nationalist Revolution of the Katipunan, to the Congress of Labor Organizations (CLO) of the 1950’s.
The US Imperialist success in crushing the CLO in 1952 forestalled the revolutionary tradition and bred the collaborationist character of the workers’ movement. But new organizations of militant workers were formed like the National Federation of Labor Unions (NAFLU) in 1957, the Coalition of Workers Organization and the National Movement of Filipino Workers in 1970, the Unity of Filipino Workers in 1975 and the Brotherhood of Workers in 1976. Imbued with this tradition, Filipino workers rallied behind the KMU when it was formed on May 1, 1980. For the first time since the CLO, a rallying point for genuine, militant and nationalist unionism emerged.