CHICAGO — Chicago’s Labor Day Parade kicked off on Saturday in a spot with a long-time history in America’s labor movement.

For the first time in years, the Pullman neighborhood was at the center of the city’s celebration of American workers.

Bob Reiter, the President of the Chicago Federation of Labor, sees the long history of unions in the United States as a legacy that is very much part of the city.

“You know, Chicago is the home of the American labor movement,” Reiter said.

Ray Quiroz worked for the famed Pullman Rail Company from 1959 to 1981 alongside his brother Al.

“To me, it was fun working there,” Ray Quiroz said. “Just a wonderful place to work, a wonderful, wonderful place to work because everyone got along with everybody.”

The brothers are lifelong Pullman residents and say they are glad to see the parade move from the East Side to Chicago’s far South Side neighborhood.

“It’s long overdue. I’m glad it’s coming up and it’s getting attention. It means a lot to the people, not only in the town of Pullman, but the whole country,” al Quiroz said.

The Pullman worker’s strike in 1894 showed the power of unions and led President Grover Cleveland to declare the first Monday of September “National Labor Day”.

“I think Pullman is probably the most important place outside of Haymarket in labor history in Chicago,” Reiter said.

The Haymarket riots of 1886 helped lead to better working conditions for workers across the country, including the adoption of the 8-hour workday.

For those attending the parade, it was a show of the American worker, through the lens of Chicago’s place in Labor Day history.