Monday, September 5, 2011

Merritton's Labour Day Parade - A Comment

Labour Day was a big event in the small town of Merritton, Ontario, when I was a kid in the 1950s.

Most of the families were dependent on the work the men got at the paper mills that sat on the edge of the Welland Canal.
Consequently, Labour Day with its show of force by the unions, was one of the most important holidays of the year.

But the factories are gone now and in recent years the unions have been in such disfavour that the Labour Day Parade was renamed 'The Community Days Parade' or something sad like that.

 And the unions were only allowed to march after the parade was finished.

It was a grim state of affairs.

But this year was different.

Labour was back and in a big way.
Peter Kormos led the parade and it gave everyone a chance to say thanks for his years of public service.

No more relegated to the back of the parade, the blue collar (and yes white collar workers, too, Debra), marched at the front, in the middle and at the end.

 There was a reminder that with the loss of so many manufacturing jobs Niagara is still hurting

 But it was a big day the unionized workers.

A last gasp?

Hard to say. 

I don't hold out much hope for the big unions.

But I would sure be happy to be wrong!

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1 comment:

Debra She Who Seeks said...

The best labour parade I ever went to was in Winnipeg in 1994. Labour was celebrating the 75th anniversary of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike, so all the union members were in period dress. The parade was held on May Day too -- the traditional Labour Day of commies and pinkos. It was great. The parade went down Main Street to Portage Avenue, where the original strike rallies were held.