Politics, marches dominate summer’s last hurrah on Labor Day
Labor Day is a holiday to honor the American worker, but it also has a political bent.
Across the country gatherings and parades invite politicians to march and speak on the day that also marks a final hurrah for summer.
Here’s a look at how the United States celebrated its Labor Day.
TO THE STREETS
Hundreds of people marched through downtown Los Angeles on Monday, calling for a $15-an-hour minimum wage nationwide and stronger union protection for workers.
The marchers held a large banner reading “America Needs Unions” as they marched to City Hall while chanting. Some of the demonstrators wore red shirts that said: “Fight for $15.” Others walked with a large quilt created to signify unity for street vendors.
Los Angeles police said there were no arrests.
Earlier Monday, dozens of workers walked off the job at a McDonald’s in the city’s Beverly Grove neighborhood and joined union activists in a protest outside.
California has approved legislation that will gradually push the statewide minimum wage from $10 an hour or $10.50 an hour, depending on the number of employees, to $15 an hour by 2022.
Marches over the minimum wage were held in several other cities, including St. Louis and Kansas City in Missouri.
JERRY! JERRY! JERRY!
Perhaps the most interesting Labor Day political appearance was in Ohio, where tabloid TV star Jerry Springer was at a parade in Cleveland.
There was no crazy love triangle or confrontation that made Springer famous on syndication. Instead, the 73-year-old had low-key conversations, calling for workers to join unions so they can get back a bigger piece of the pie from their bosses.
“We have to fight back! Working-class America is under attack. Keep up the fight,” Springer said at a Monday morning rally.
Springer, a Democrat, has not officially announced a run for Ohio governor in 2018. Before he became a TV star, he bounced back from a prostitution scandal in the 1970s to win election to a term as Cincinnati mayor and failed in a run for governor in 1982.
BERNIE! BERNIE! BERNIE!
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders made several speeches in the Northeast on Monday, saying Donald Trump’s presidency is accelerating a trend to make America a country for the rich and not for everyone.
Sanders on Monday deviated from a typical Labor Day message, using “ugly” and “cruel” to describe Trump’s reported decision to end a program that grants temporary legal status to people who were brought to the United States illegally as children
Sanders told the union members he spoke to at the New Hampshire AFL-CIO in Manchester that they needed to stand together to fight for immigrants, just like they need to keep fighting for government-run health care for all Americans and other policy changes he said would stop the economic backsliding for the middle class.
“We’re taking on the insurance companies. We’re taking on Wall Street. But ultimately we will win this struggle,” said Sanders, an independent who ran unsuccessfully for president as a Democrat.
Trump, a Republican, has slammed the program for young immigrants as illegal “amnesty.”
THE AMERICAN WORKER
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren released a report on Labor Day saying Trump is failing to keep his campaign promises to create more jobs and increase wages.
Instead of protecting workers, the report from the Massachusetts Democrat said the president is putting people in the Labor Department who are anti-union and want to revoke regulations they say are anti-business, but labor groups say protect worker safety.
Trump has touted his economic policies he said have created more than 1 million jobs since he took office.
REMEMBERING JERRY LEWIS
A staple of Labor Days for more than 40 years, the telethon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association hosted for almost all its run by Jerry Lewis has been gone for three years. And Lewis died on Aug. 20.
But ArcLight’s 10 theaters in California and Illinois showed two of Lewis’ classic films, “The Nutty Professor” and “The King of Comedy.” And, just like the old telethon, it donated all of the proceeds to MDA.
Lewis parted ways with his namesake 21-1/2 hour telethon in 2010. The telethon ran with reduced hours until 2014, when the association announced the way people watched TV and donated money had changed too much for the show to work anymore.