Union members march in Massena to remember why Labor Day is important

Published: Sep. 4, 2023 at 4:01 PM EDT
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MASSENA, New York (WWNY) - The unofficial end to summer began with the Massena Central Marching Band parading down Main Street in downtown Massena.

Following behind were multiple unions from across the North Country marching with pride while handing out candy to kids.

Massena Labor Day Parade Chairman Ron McDougall says that this year’s Labor Day parade was a success with multiple unions signing up to march.

“I’m told it’s forty-some, but I don’t know that for sure. So plenty, and a good crowd downtown and a number of marchers,” said McDougall.

According to local labor union leaders, this Labor Day is especially important as unions across the country are gaining more members.

“I think it’s our time. Definitely our time to join a union, get together and collectively bargain an agreement with an employer to make it fair,” said Scottie Hilyard, President of Laborer’s Union Local No. 1822.

Shannon Victoria DeSilva of the Public Employee’s Federation says that workers today are struggling just as much as workers from more than 90 years ago in terms of making sure their rights are met.

“I mean we’re dealing with, still overtime long hours, we’re dealing with short-staffing, we’re dealing with poor working conditions and the list continues. So, it’s extremely important for us to have a day like this so that everyone throughout the world can know that we’re marching for basic rights,” said DeSilva.

Union members gathered together after the parade for a community BBQ.