High turnout for Milwaukee Labor Day parade
Milwaukee, WI – On Sept. 5, Milwaukee's labor unions’ energetic efforts promoting the annual Labor Day and Laborfest celebrations resulted in what was considered by most to be a largest turnout than in recent years.
Workers in and around the Milwaukee area, from both union and non-union backgrounds came together in solidarity, remembering labor's victories in the past, and taking a hard look at the challenges of the future.
Hundreds gathered before the formal parade to support the Fight for 15 campaign in front of Aurora Sinai Hospital. Workers there, many of whom have more than a decade of service make less than $15 an hour, though they are responsible for the health and sanitation of one of the largest hospitals in the city.
Tracey Schwerdtfeger, a union certified nursing assistant from another Milwaukee hospital, made the connection between the labor movement and the national liberation movements in her speech.
“We know the same group of people who try to keep our wages low and don't care about our health and safety are the same people who support policies of ripping apart families through deportations and not holding police accountable for murdering a Black person every 28 hours,” Schwerdtfeger said.
After the rally, a parade, which numbered around 10,000, proceeded to the Summerfest grounds for a Labor Day celebration that included music and even a pro-labor professional wrestling match.
The numbers reflect a continuing commitment by workers across Wisconsin to fight against corporate greed and concessions to the rich, and to organize for higher wages and better working conditions for all working people. Enormous handouts to the rich are being voted on in the state government to supposedly sweeten the pot for a Foxconn manufacturing facility, with no guarantee of decent pay or benefits for the supposed jobs that would be created. Despite all the attacks over the last seven years by Governor Scott walker and his corporate backers against workers’ rights, the spirit of resistance is alive and well in the Badger state.