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Thousands Of Workers Take To The Streets For Labour Day Parade

About 30,000 union members, their families and politicians turned out for the annual event that included 20 bands and 15 floats.

Organizers are calling on business leaders to raise workers’ wages and their message for this year’s procession was: one million reasons to speak out, one million reasons to vote.

“I think this year the themes of the floats are all gearing towards the election. McGuinty has not delivered at all for working people in this province,” Sid Ryan, president of CUPE Ont., said.

Mayor David Miller also marched in the parade. 

“In the city’s case, the people who are represented by our unions are the people that do the work that makes Toronto a special place to live, and I think it’s very important to work with them because they do the work,” he said.

“Labour Day is about more than just city workers. It’s workers from all walks of life who help make our city a great place to live.”

The procession, which is more than 100 years old, kicked off around University and Dundas, made its way along Queen Street West and wrapped up at the EX.

Teachers’ unions made up a large contingent of the parade and they used the event to voice some of their concerns on the eve of a new school year.

The instructors want changes made to the provincial funding formula that they say has put almost every school board in Ontario in the red.

“The education funding formula was broken under the Tories. It continues to be broken. There’s thousands of jobs at risk here. Schools are closing,” John Weatherup, president of Local 4400 CUPE Toronto Education Workers, said.

The labour movement in Toronto is very strong and union workers continue to carry on the tradition of hitting the streets every year at the start of September. To find out how Labour Day originated in Toronto and spread across North America, click here.