More Than 200 Strong Parade For Workers Rights


Nashville, TN – The Central Labor Council joined with Middle TN Jobs With Justice and Workers' Dignity, in what became the largest local labor day parade in more than a decade.   Despite storm clouds overhead, workers from construction, service, industrial, and public sectors, joined together from thirteen sponsoring local unions and campaigns, to march the three miles together. The route took workers and community supporters along the working class area of Nolensville Road from Harding Pike to St. Edwards Church on Thompson Lane, where the parade joined Workers’ Dignity’s annual Labor Day Picnic.

 "Labor Day weekend is more than the last hurrah for summer or the official kick-off to football season.” Central Labor Council President Vonda McDaniel reminded the crowd, “Labor Day weekend is a recognition and celebration of the contributions workers make to our community, and a chance to lift our voices for what still needs to change."

Labor Day celebrates the achievements of the Labor Movement in securing minimum wage and hour standards, the end of child labor, workplace safety, the right to organize, workers compensation, unemployment insurance, employment nondiscrimination, and many other protections.  

The parade also drew attention to the work the local labor movement is doing today by addressing increasing income inequality, low wages, and unsafe working conditions. Tennessee is currently both the fastest growing state for Union membership, and the state with the fastest growing portion of minimum wage jobs. These two trends aren't unrelated. Marchers carried signs reading "Raising Wages Works" to draw the connection. As our economy has changed, more and more workers fall between the cracks.  Wage theft and temporary work arrangements deny people basic income security, even while corporations make record profits. Workers increasingly are organizing to address these challenges.

Workers’ Dignity, a low wage worker center highlights this trend. The group recently launched a campaign to combat wage theft in the surging hospitality industry with high profile successes.

 “I feel happy and victorious. This fight lasted for months; the key is never to give up” said Ricardo Flores, a Workers’ Dignity member who recovered over $800 in unpaid wages from his employer in August.  "I want to let people know that workers are not alone. Thanks to organizations like Workers’ Dignity our labor is respected"

Marchers also stopped at a fast food restaurant where workers went on strike over poverty wages earlier this year, at a Nissan car dealership selling cars built in unsafe temporary labor conditions, as well stopping to hear from union transit workers, and from efforts to improve wages and conditions of Walmart workers.  The diversity of parading workers reflected the new reality of the Labor Movement that is meeting the challenges of 2014 with new solutions and the same passion for organizing that made Labor Day a recognized holiday.

The Event was made possible with generous sponsorship from: TN AFL-CIO, United Auto Workers, UFCW Local 1995, SEIU Local 205, Show Me $15, Utility Workers Union of America, CWA Local 3808, United Campus Workers-CWA, ATU Local 1235, OPEIU Local 182, LiUNA Local 386, IBEW Local 429, & OPEIU Local 277

Thanks to everyone that participated!

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