Scranton labor unions celebrate Labor Day with wreath laying

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — It’s the final day of the long weekend – Labor Day.

Workers gathered today at the Lackawanna Courthouse Square to remind us that the holiday is not just a day to barbecue and spend time outdoors, but also to honor the history of America’s working people.

Workers gathered in Scranton on Monday to honor the history of America’s working people. The Scranton Central Labor Union, IATSE 329 stagehands, teachers, ironworkers, and healthcare workers came together at the John Mitchell statue on Courthouse Square to celebrate with a wreath-laying ceremony.

“We want to celebrate that heritage that we worked hard for every day of our lives,” Rosemary Boland, President of Scranton Federation of Teachers Local 1147, said. “That’s who we are, that’s why we are here.”

The wreath presentation and ceremony has been held in Courthouse Square for the past 20 years.

“It’s the people who work in this country every day that is the backbone of our country,” former Scranton mayor Jimmy Conner said.

Boland says marking Labor Day is not just about having a cookout. For some, the holiday hits closest to home.

“My dad worked on the railroad here, locally. He worked for the Laurel line which is no longer in existence,” Boland said.

Boland’s grandfathers also worked in the mines. This year, speakers discussed Scranton’s place in the history of labor unions and discussed current needs for workers, especially important now during the pandemic.

“John Mitchell led the strike in 1902 which brought 150,000 workers together,” AFL-CIO Community Services Liaison Bill Cockerill explained.

Cockerill says Labor Day also highlights essential workers.

“As the button says, no zeros for heroes. We want to be recognized. We are the heroes. We deserve the compensation for that,” Cockerill said.

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