Gallery: A Look Back to 2019, Detroit's Last Labor Day Parade

September 05, 2022, 9:20 AM by  Allan Lengel

Jimmy Hoffa Jr. marches alongside Lt. Gov. Gilchrist.

This was published on Sept. 2, 2019, the last time Detroit had a Labor Day Parade. This year's parade was canceled again this year due to concerns about Covid.

“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”
-- Abraham Lincoln

On a sun-drenched, weather-perfect morning, thousands of union workers Monday marched alongside union leaders and politicans down Michigan Avenue for Detroit's Labor Day Parade.

While it seemed similar to parades of previous years, there were some things worth noting.

For one, a small group of less than a dozen UAW members showed up to protest the highly-publicized corruption in their union at the upper levels that has lead to indictments. UAW President Gary Jones marched in the parade for a while with members, but vanished before it was over. Some speculated he left because of the protest.

And unlike previous parades, there were very few anti-Donald Trump messages except for a T-shirt here and there and a man from New York selling anti-Trump buttons.

And another thing worth noting: With the 2020 election just around the corner, no Democratic presidential candidates (and there are still plenty) showed up on Labor Day in a state that Donald Trump won in 2016. There were two groups -- one for Sen. Bernie Sanders and another for South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg --  that marched in the parade, wearing T-shirts and carrying signs. But neither candidate was there.

Sanders had scheduled stops in Maine and New Hampshire on Monday. And Buttigieg, along with presidential hopefuls Sen. Michael Bennet and former Vice President Joe Biden, planned to visit Iowa City.

Still, there were notables in attendance including Teamsters President James P. Hoffa Jr., Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II, who marched briefly with Hoffa, state Attorney General Dana Nessel and U.S. Reps. Brenda Lawrence, Rashida Tlaib, Debbie Dingell and Haley Stevens. 

UAW members protest the union's corruption.

Here come the heat and frost union members.

Various UAW locals were out in full force despite the troubles at the top.

Mayor Mike Duggan and his chief of staff Alexis Wiley showed up.

Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon mingled before the parade got underway.

T-shirts that read "Union to the bone."

Never too old to be politically active. 

And never too young to be active.

What's a Labor Day Parade with out this float?

U.S. Debbie Dingell is hard to miss in the red dress.

The kid's first Ford.

You're not allowed to whine if you travel this way in a parade.

U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib marched in the parade.

The sheet metal workers march.

Stan Sinberg of New York, who came to Detroit for the Jazz Fest, sells anti-Trump buttons.

Teachers standing strong.

No, the orange isn't in honor of the Orange-haired man.

The beer trucks, driven by union workers, showed up.

U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence

The postal workers fighting for jobs.

Little signs of anti-Trump sentiment.

Supporters march for Mayor Pete Buttigieg

The Detroit Newspaper Guild. Sign held by Free Press reporters Bill Laitner (left) and John Gallagher.

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II and his daughter greet participants in the parade.

U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens

Attorney General Dana Nessel
A ride worth remembering


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