Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Labor Day 2009 Wrap Up

On the First Monday of September, most American workers had the day off to celebrate Labor Day. While International Labor is May 1st and has it's roots in the Haymarket riot in Chicago, the American Labor Day became a holiday as President Grover Cleveland attempted to gain the support of organized labor, days after he order federal troops to crush the strikers at the Pullman Rail Yards.

I do not recall Chicago having very active Labor Day's in the past. One year I was in Pittsburgh and attended their Labor Day Parade- it was fantastic. Every union came out to march, and crowds lined the sidewalks to watch the parade.

This last labor day was very active for me in Chicago.

I began by attending the Congress Hotel Picket Line. The workers there, members of UNITE/HERE Local 1 have been on strike for the last 6 years, as they struggle for decent health and pay from the hotel. Dignitaries on hand included Governor Pat Quinn, Jesse Jackson, Author and Minister CJ Hawkings and Aldermen Fioretti and Preckwinkle. The politicians led a delegation inside the hotel to speak to management and to ask that the Hotel find a settlement with the union.



picket line

picket line

picket line

After the rally at the Congress Hotel, I traveled over to Federal Plaza to take part in the immigration Rally.

Video of the march entering federal plaza.


Coffins representing the number of deaths on the border

Children in chains representing the criminalization of immigrant youth.

SK hand tools employees, members of Teamsters Local 743 who are on strike after their employer canceled their health insurance without telling them.

Photo of the crowd at Federal plaza.

A Video of the crowd at Federal plaza.

After the Immigration Rally I took the CTA to the South Side of Chicago, historic Pullman, for the annual Labor Day Picnic and Rally. On the ride there I spoke with one of the founders and leader of the Workers Party of Belgium. Pretty cool.

The crowd at Pullman.

Groups that tabled at Pullman.

Jesse Jackson Jr. speaks to the crowd.

Jesse Jackson Jr speaks to the crowd.

Armando Robles of the United Electrical Workers Talks to the crowd.

A speaker discusses labor disputes at Petes Food Market.

A speaker discusses the Latino Union.

Rich Berg of Teamsters 743 speaks.

Jesse Jackson speaks to labor day rally.

Solidarity Forever is sung.

Historic Pullman building.

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