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'We are a labour city': Sarnia holds 121st annual Labour Day Parade

Purple and proud, members of three CUPE unions led the annual Labour Day parade in Sarnia.

“We are thrilled to be up front because we were the education workers who were on strike this past November,” says Michelle LaLonge-Davey, president of CUPE 1238.

“We are the workers who defeated the Doug Ford Bill 28 when they tried to take away our rights to freely negotiate and bargain. Proud of what we did, and can’t wait to say thanks to the community for all the support during that work.”

Thousands lined Christina Street in Sarnia, Ont. for what is believed to be the oldest Labour Day parade in Canada.

Thousands of people lined the streets in Sarnia, Ont. for the annual Labour Day Parade on Monday, Sept. 4, 2023 (Brent Lale/CTV News London)

“We are a labour city,” says Brian White, a Sarnia city councillor, and one of the parade judges.

“When you get everybody together on a day like today, you can see how labour intensive our city really is. This is a showing unlike anywhere in Canada, and we really are proud of the works who build our community and make us a strong economic driver for Ontario.

With the sun shining, thousands of local workers marched, with cheers from the streets showing their support for the labourers who are back at full strength after the pandemic.

“We have about 3,300 participants and about 32 groups marching today,” says Nick Dochstader, president of the Sarnia and District Labour Council.

The back of a tee shirt worn by members of I.B.E.W Electricians local 530 from Sarnia-Lambton in the annual Labour Day parade in Sarnia, Ont. on Monday, Sept. 4, 2023 (Brent Lale/CTV News London)

“We probably represent over 1,000 people locally here. Labour is huge in Sarnia as we are the folks who build the city, staff the schools and hospitals and it’s a day to celebrate all those people.

With school resuming Wednesday, LaLonge-Davey says CUPE is excited to return.

“Our 10-month friends are coming back to work, but we also represent the 12-month workers. Our utilities, trades, custodians and clerical workers have been working all summer to keep the schools going. It’s been a nice summer just to recharge and be back for the kids and the families.”  

The Boilermakers Local 128 walk in the 121st annual Labour Day Parade in Sarnia, Ont. on Monday, Sept 4, 2023 (Brent Lale/CTV News London) Top Stories

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