Labor Day parade in Wilmington focuses on keeping attendees cool, fighting for union rights

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Monday, September 5, 2022
Labor Day parade returns to Wilmington after 2-year absence
The 43rd annual Labor Day parade returned to Wilmington after a two-year absence and many attendees were focused on keeping cool.

WILMINGTON, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The 43rd annual Labor Day parade returned to Wilmington on Monday - and after a two-year absence, foremost on the minds of most attendees was keeping cool.

The parade was held as the region experiences an extended heat wave, with temperatures in the 90s in the Wilmington area, and in the triple digits in other parts of Southern California.

More than 20 union locals participated in this year's parade. When the event was canceled during the pandemic, union members spent the holiday handing out food to workers in need.

Parade organizers said they took every precaution to make sure everyone had plenty of water to drink at Banning Park.

"We're here to celebrate Labor Day," said Ernie Benuelas, with Ironworkers Local 433. "It only comes once a year so hell or high water here we are. We got plenty of water for everybody and trying to keep everyone cool. If anybody gets too hot, we'll get them some shade and stuff but we're going to go through with it."

Besides beating the heat, of course, promoting the needs of union workers was the primary message of the event.

Louis Diaz of Teamsters Local 848 said workers continue to fight hard for: "Better working conditions, being treated with respect and dignity at the workplace and of course raising their wages and benefits."