By Jim Melwert
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Hundreds of union workers and labor supporters gathered Monday for the 26th annual Labor Day rally and parade on Penn’s Landing.
As the parade started up Columbus Boulevard, the skies opened up — and while a few people scattered for cover, most continued their march.
“Rain, snow, sleet or hail, because they’re coming at us hard, so we need to be out here as a united front to save our jobs,” said one member of the union representing postal workers. “Everyone should be out here, nobody is off-limits.”
“The middle class is being eaten from the bottom and the top,” says Tom Blackwell, with International Longshoreman Association Local 1291. “The middle class pays for everything, so we have to stick together to protect one another.”
And in the current labor climate, CWA unit one vice president Tom Romantini says protecting one an other is more important than ever.
“We have to stick together on everything,” he says, “because they’re all common issues, whether it’s the teachers, whether it’s the laborers, whoever it is, everybody has got the same fight. That’s what today is all about.”
On stage, before it started pouring, council president of Philadelphia AFL-CIO Pat Eiding fired up the crowd.
“For folks that are looking, folks that want to take a peek, they better understand that the labor movement in Philadelphia is so solid together, that if you start picking on one, you’ve got a gang people coming to say hello to you.”
Eiding says the problem in the country is there are no political leaders anymore, instead just politicians looking out for the rich, destroying the working class.