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  • Writer's pictureMona Alrazzaq

Labor Day Parade held in Downtown Champaign for first time

Updated: Oct 3, 2022

By Mona Alrazzaq

Photo courtesy of GEO.

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Champaign County sponsored the Labor Day Parade this Monday in Downtown Champaign for the first time.

The parade began at 10 a.m. in Downtown Champaign due to construction occurring in the park that was used for the Labor Day Parade in the past. This was the first time that the parade took place there instead of in Urbana.

Different workers and groups marched from the corner of Chestnut St. and Main St. through downtown Champaign all the way to the corner of Walnut St. and Washington St. While marching, they engaged in conversations and held up banners displaying their causes.

The Graduate Employee Organization at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the non-tenure-track faculty at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign both marched in celebration of the holiday.

The theme of this labor day was “Yes for Workers’ Rights.” Following the parade, community members and their families who marched were able to enjoy snacks, games and drinks provided for them at West Side Park.

This parade was one of many parades across the country that originally arose from a leader, Matthew Maguire, who told the Central Labor Union of New York that there should be a celebration honoring workers.

His actions led 10,000 workers to march in a parade on September 5, 1882 and inspired current workers to carry this tradition to today.

As of 2021, the number of wage and salary workers belonging to a Union in the United States was 14.0 million.

Labor Day is also supposed to recognize workers’ contribution to society by allowing them to rest. The Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968 shifted holidays in order to ensure they fell on Mondays in order to give federal employees more three day weekends.

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