Three Local 802 bands and a speech by AFL-CIO President John Sweeney will highlight this year’s Labor Day festivities. A march and rally on Wednesday, Sept. 1 will replace the traditional Labor Day parade this year.
But one Labor Day tradition is unchanged this year: Joe Losh and the John Philip Sousa post of the American Legion Band will lead off the march. After gathering on Central Park West, marchers will head downtown, across Central Park South, up Fifth Avenue and into the park at 72nd Street for a rally at Central Park’s SummerStage.
Local 802 members will gather at 4:30 p.m. at 67th Street and Central Park West on the park side of the street. Look for the 802 banner and folks wearing 802 shirts. The march steps off at 5 p.m.
Marchers will have a hard time keeping still when they get to the park: Ascension, Bobby Sanabria’s Afro-Cuban ensemble, and George Gee’s Jump Jive & Wailers, a swing band, will provide music at the rally, and both are known for hot dance sounds.
The rally is designed to show the strength of the city’s labor movement and advance labor’s agenda for the next century, which includes better funding for education, the arts and child care. “We want to show that New York’s labor movement is advocating not just for union members, but for all working families,” said Brian McLaughlin, who heads the New York City Central Labor Council.
Since 1996, the labor parade has taken place on the Saturday after Labor Day, a time that doesn’t conflict with union members’ last chance for a summer weekend away – or with Brooklyn’s West Indian Day parade, which draws thousands of union members. But this year, the first Saturday after Labor Day falls during the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, so the CLC opted for a weekday event.
THE B.B. KING BLUES FESTIVAL
A unique blues tour that will bring the message of labor and social justice to 11 cities across the country this summer arrives in the metro New York area on Friday, Sept. 17. The B.B. King Blues Festival will feature AFM Local 71 (Memphis) member B.B. King, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Tower of Power and Indigenous. It is sponsored by Jobs with Justice and the Communications Workers of America, and supported by AFM locals along the tour itinerary.
The Blues Festival will be take place at the PNC Bank Arts Center (Formerly the Garden State Arts Center), beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 17. If you are driving, take the Garden State Parkway to Exit #116, Holmdel, New Jersey. But you don’t need to drive; a bus will be traveling to and from the concert leaving from mid-town on Friday afternoon. Call New York JwJ at (212) 631-0886 for information.
At each stop on the tour, JwJ is organizing a pre-concert “Beating the Workplace Blues Festival.” JwJ and CWA are setting up festival tents to welcome the public, educate people about local labor issues and celebrate worker victories. Jobs with Justice is offering a special Blues Beater Bonus Package which includes one ticket, a Festival T-Shirt featuring the festival mural, and a raffle ticket for a Gibson electric guitar signed by B.B. King. The lawn seat package costs $30 and a reserved loge seat package is $60. Or you can buy seats through Ticketmaster (unreserved lawn seats are $25.25; reserved loge seats are $47.50 – plus an additional service charge). ð