March in the Labor Day Parade

Guild members called to show solidarity in face of mounting challenges

Aug. 27, 2019 – It’s been yet another challenging year, but the members of the Buffalo Newspaper Guild have stood strong. We remain committed to our mission. We’ve continued to produce, edit and distribute excellent journalism, even in an era of shrinking resources.

And on Monday, Sept. 2, we’ll demonstrate our continued strength and commitment to our community in spite of the difficulties we face. Please join the leadership and fellow members of the Guild as we march in Monday’s Labor Day Parade — it’s as important now as it’s ever been to remind the public of our vital role in Western New York, and we need your help.

The parade will head down Abbott Road in South Buffalo to Cazenovia Park, where free hot dogs, hamburgers, snacks and drinks will be provided to all. There will be shuttle buses from Cazenovia Park starting at the Casino and going to the corner of Stevenson and Cumberland avenues from 10:15 to 11:45 a.m.. For people who park at the beginning of the parade route, there will be return buses from 1:15 to 2:30 p.m. The food begins being served at 1:00pm at the Casino. Family members are invited join.

We ask all participants to wear their red Guild shirts. If you don’t have one or need a different size, see Colin Dabkowski in editorial. He will bring extras on Monday.

When: Please arrive by 11:30 a.m. Monday. Parade begins at noon.

Where: Guild members will gather at the corner of Abbott Road and Stevenson Street. Park at either end of the parade route. Consider coordinating with another person to prevent having to walk back to your vehicle.

Why a parade?

Labor Day stems from a chapter of history during which the average American worked long hours seven days a week for minuscule pay. Even young children worked in factories and mines.

Labor unions began to form and organize strikes to improve pay, hours and unsafe working conditions. Among many actions, on Sept. 5, 1882, 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march in New York City, holding the first Labor Day parade in U.S. history.

The idea of a workingman’s holiday caught on in other cities, and states passed legislation recognizing it. A turning point occurred in the late 1890s when tens of thousands of workers nationwide employed by the Pullman railroad company went on strike to protest wage cuts. President Grover Cleveland ordered a harsh response by sending troops to Chicago, an action that led to riots in which workers were killed and injured.

After the strike ended, Cleveland and Congress in 1894 designated Labor Day a national holiday as a conciliatory gesture to labor.

In the years since, the labor movement brought us the 40-hour, five-day workweek, overtime pay, paid holidays, pensions, health insurance, an end to child labor, safer working conditions, the right to organize and bargain collectively, and many other workplace rights.

Here’s what Samuel Gompers, founder of the American Federation of Labor, said in 1898 about Labor Day: It’s “the day for which the toilers in past centuries looked forward, when their rights and their wrongs would be discussed…that the workers of our day may not only lay down their tools of labor for a holiday, but upon which they may touch shoulders in marching phalanx and feel the stronger for it.”