Thousands of union members marched through downtown Toledo today, as supporters and onlookers cheered them on, during the annual Labor Day parade.
A sea of red and blue shirts, colorful banners, and music flooded the streets near Summit and Monroe streets where parade marchers lined up, preparing for the procession.
“This is to commemorate all the laborers before us, who worked for little or nothing. It’s my duty to come out here,” said David
Fleetwood, a representative for Laborers Local 500. “This is laborers sticking together. In unity, there’s strength.”
Union members showed their solidarity by wearing matching T-shirts that stated “We are the 99%,” and “We are one.” Several members wore bright buttons that read “Union Thug” to show their support.
More than 40 local unions marched in the parade, along with dozens of area businesses and organizations.
“I like the marching bands,” said Ed Fritz, 73, of Toledo, as he cheered on the Whitmer High School marching band. “I like the excitement of it all.”
Children lined up along Summit and Huron streets, clapping for marchers and calling for candy.
“Candy! We want candy,” a group of young boys shouted to the marchers.
Police estimate about 10,000 came out for the parade, including several hopefuls, who wanted to catch a glimpse of President Obama, who arrived in Toledo Sunday. The president will make an appearance at Scott High School today as part of a swing-state tour of Ohio, Iowa, Colorado, and Virginia, before heading to Charlotte, N.C., where he is to accept the nomination for a second term on Thursday.
U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) were two of the many elected officials who marched in the parade.
Chris Holland, of Millbury was disappointed with the turnout.
“I think there should have been more people here,” said Mrs. Holland, a secretary for Oregon City Schools and member of Ohio Association of Public School Employees Local 320. “I think having another big event at the same time may have pulled some people away.”
Contact RoNeisha Mullen at: email@example.com or 419-724-6133.