The national decline in union membership has made Labor Day a generic end of summer celebration. But Philadelphia is one place where Labor Day still means Labor Day.
Hundreds of union workers marched up Columbus Boulevard from Washington to Penn’s Landing Monday morning in a show of union solidarity. Among those in the parade was Jerry Jordan, head of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, who said even good union jobs have been trimmed due to the economy.
“As a result of that, that brings us all down, but certainly the labor movement is strong and is still very active and will continue to be very active,” Jordan said.
Building Trades Union leader Pat Gillespie said unions are an important counter-weight to powerful corporate interests.
“Gecko said ‘greed is good’ well for Wall Street,'” Gillespie said. “I guess it is, but we provide the balance and the leveling, collective bargaining does.”
Congressman Bob Brady said unions are under attack, and a big turnout shows unions still have influence.
“What it tells me is that we are pretty united in the city of Philadelphia and hopefully if they stay united supporting each other they will be able to stick together,” Brady said.