Labor Day Parade Honors New Jersey Educators

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On a warm and sunny September 4, the 30e The annual Labor Day Parade took place outside the American Labor Museum in Haledon. The museum is located in the Botto House, where Italian immigrants Pietro Botto and his wife Maria brought together 20,000 strikers in 1913 for an eight-hour workday. In 1982, the Botto house became a national monument. In 1983 it opened as a national museum, recognizing the achievements of organized workers.

The 2022 parade honored all unionized workers in New Jersey, with a particular focus on teachers and education workers. NJEA President Sean M. Spiller and Donna M. Chiera, President of the American Federation of Teachers-NJ, were the parade grand marshals.

“Teachers are the backbone of our society,” said Michael Goodwin, president of the American Labor Museum, launching the day’s festivities. “They are online every day, front and center, teaching and protecting our children,”

Congressman Thomas Giblin, D-Passaic, introduced Spiller.

“I’ve seen Sean grow in his career, starting as a teacher at Wayne,” Giblin said. “As the leader of the NJEA, his record of accomplishment speaks for itself.”

Spiller celebrated the hard work of all school employees.

“It’s all of us working together,” Spiller said. “When I say ‘all of us’, yes, it’s our teachers, but it’s also our guards, our bus drivers, our cleaners, our helpers, our nurses — everyone who works at the school help us succeed. When we talk about work and we are here with our brothers and sisters, we know that we can always lean on each other. People are fighting to have their voices heard. People fight for respect. People are fighting for fair wages.

The parade followed, featuring all the things that make a parade an exciting community event: marching bands, floats, horses and fire engines. Unionized workers were well represented along the route. In addition to the NJEA and AFT-NJ, state and local unions representing various trades and professions from New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania marched in the parade. Among them were members of the Passaic County Education Association and the United Staff Association, which represents NJEA staff, and the new Starbucks Workers United.

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