|Western Region 6 President Flo Tripi leads a large contingent of marchers in |
the 26th Annual Rochester Labor Day Parade on Monday, September 3, 2012.
photo: Ove Overmyer
(Rochester, N.Y.) -- Thousands of workers from several dozen unions in the Rochester area took part in the 26th Annual Labor Day festivities on Monday, celebrating "Walk With the 99%."
At 10:00 am, The Rochester Labor Council hosted a press conference on the steps of the local Boy Scouts headquarters as area union leaders greeted the media.
Union leaders say this year they were calling for what President Franklin Roosevelt wanted in 1944, a second Bill of Rights. That would give Americans the right to quality education, medical care and retirement security. Most of all, it called for workers to have the right to organize and make a living wage.
Western Region President Flo Tripi gave a sober and stirring speech about voter suppression efforts around the country. She warned that every labor ally must become politically active in order to fight our oppressors in any meaningful way.
"We are right now in a recession, a depression of consumer demand and consumer spending," explained Jim Bertolone, President of the Rochester & Vicinity Labor Council, AFL-CIO. "Workers need a raise, and they need jobs and that's the only thing that will get the economy going. We need a strong middle class."
An hour later, the Rochester Labor Day Parade began in the East End and made its way through downtown Rochester. CSEA had a large contingent in the Rochester parade, and once again built an award-winning float honoring 19th and 20th century labor and civil rights heroes.
After the parade, members attended picnics, some did volunteer work and community service, and others visited amusement parks and local beaches with their family and friends.