Labor Day 2017

The first Labor Day – held in 1882 – was the idea of the Central Labor Union of New York, which proposed a celebration honoring the American worker. Street parades and other celebrations were a way for the public to show its appreciation for the work of the trade and labor organizations. It became a federal holiday in 1894, when 30 states officially celebrated Labor.

            Today, on the first Monday of September each year, Labor Day is a statutory holiday in all U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories, which continue the parade tradition (Pittsburgh’s parade is considered one of the largest). NABET-CWA locals in Detroit, Buffalo, Chicago, and Burbank shared their experiences of this year’s holiday.

Detroit

Detroit Labor Day

“Rise Up Unions: Fight for Your Rights”

Forty members of the Detroit Metro Media Council/CWA joined the Detroit Labor Day March, whose theme was “Rise Up Unions: Fight for Your Rights.” NABET-CWA Local 43 President Dorethea Brown-Maxey and member Jack Ballomo marched with the group on the streets of downtown Detroit. They joined thousands of fellow union members, politicians and elected officials. Liz Shuler, AFL-CIO Secretary/Treasurer, also participated in this event.

Buffalo

Buffalo Labor Day

“Labor Unions Make America Great”

Local 25 President/RVP2 Roy Schrodt and Local 25 Vice President Bob Hellwitz marched along with fellow CWA locals and many other unions from Western New York in the Buffalo Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO Labor Day Parade in South Buffalo, NY. The parade’s theme this year was “Labor Unions Make America Great.” The large parade is followed by a picnic sponsored by all of the participating unions. The picnic includes food, live music, and entertainment for kids. This year’s parade, which took marchers along a 1¼ mile route, included 5,000 marchers, 2,500 spectators, and 2,000 picnickers, Schrodt reported.

Chicago

The Labor Day holiday in Chicago is rooted in the city’s Southside history. Congress created Labor Day following the deadly 1894 Pullman Strike in Pullman, Chicago. The city’s Labor community celebrated that history on the Saturday before Labor Day during the Southeast Side Labor Day Parade. NABET-CWA Local 41 members, wearing their red NABET-CWA shirts, marched with fellow union members and attended a Friends of Labor Festival that took place afterward at Steelworkers Park.

Burbank

Local 53 Labor Day

“Union Proud—Union Strong”

NABET-CWA Local 53 Vice President Joe Ayala and Local 53 Treasurer Louis Gabriele participated in the Los Angeles/ Long Beach Harbor Labor Coalition 38th Annual Labor Day Parade. The parade — with the theme “Union Proud—Union Strong” — brought together thousands of union members and their families, as well as state and local officials, for the march down Avalon Boulevard in Wilmington, CA.

As published in the Fall 2017 NABET News