CHICAGO — Most people use this long weekend to relax, fire up the grill and enjoy the end of summer, but some see the holiday as a chance to celebrate the “labor” in “Labor Day.”
“Chicago is the hometown of the American labor movement. We celebrate Labor Day because of everything that happened in this city,” said Don Villar, Chicago Federation of Labor.
On Saturday, labor unions and families joined in a parade and fest on the Southeast Side in celebration of Labor Day.
“It’s celebrating working class people that work hard every single day across the city, that’s what today is all about,” said Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th Ward).
SEIU Healthcare workers chose this event to announce plans for a potential strike at Mount Sinai Hospitals.
“Personally, I’m fighting to make more than $13.53 an hour that currently shows up on my paycheck, despite my years of service and the demanding nature of my job. I’m not alone,” said LeChrisha Pearson, a CNA at Mount Sinai Hospital.
The fight for fairness is something many at Saturday’s event said is an ongoing battle.
“We’re here today because of you, workers,” Villar said. “You know, 125 years ago, not far from here, just down the road, is where we had the massive Pullman Strike. They were fighting for the same thing you’re fighting for. They’re fighting for fairness, equality, respect, dignity, the same thing, it seems like 125 years later we’re still fighting the same fight. So this is for you this Labor Day.”
That’s something Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city is still working towards as well.
“We’re going to make sure that we bring resources to the Southeast Side, and we continue our partnership with organized labor to make sure we do everything we can to strengthen working families in the city,” she said.
The fest continues until 10 p.m. Saturday.