Little more than a week after Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett was uninvited from this year’s Labor Day parade in Pittsburgh, the Allegheny County Labor Council has announced that his opponent Tom Wolf will lead the parade.
"Tom Wolf brings a new attitude toward workers and workers' rights. He wants all Pennsylvania workers to have a shot at a better life just like the UAW workers who built his Jeep and benefited from collective bargaining helping them to earn family sustaining wages and benefits, the kind of living wages all workers deserve," said Jack Shea, President of the Allegheny County Labor Council.
Also marching on Monday will be AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and workers representing industries as diverse as fast food, healthcare, and higher education.
According to a news release, Wolf, Trumka, and others will march “for fair wages for all workers.”
Democrats in the state legislature are also using Labor Day as an opportunity to call for an increase in Pennsylvania’s minimum wage from $7.25/hour to at least $10.10/hour. A bill to achieve such an increase over the next two years has continued to languish in the Senate Labor and Industry committee since it was introduced in March.
“I’m a firm believer that the more money people make, the more they’ll spend. That’s what Americans do,” said state Senator Jim Brewster of Allegheny County. “If you don’t raise the minimum wage and you have literally millions of people in this country working at minimum wage, they’re not going to spend anymore. That we know, that’s just a fact. They’re already spending what they have. The only way you can get them to add to the economy and boost the economy is to give them more money.”
Brewster said he hopes people will stop during Monday's festivities to focus on the original meaning of Labor Day, a federal holiday established in 1882 to celebrate the achievements of working people.
“Let’s get past the idea of setting up the grill and the hotdogs and hamburgers and let’s stay focused on the people that labored over the past hundred years and made this a great country,” Brewster said.
The Labor Day Parade is scheduled to begin with a mass Monday at 10am at the intersection of Washington Place and Centre Ave., near CONSOL Energy Center in the Hill District.