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14th annual Charlotte Labor Day Parade report

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Elijah Turner, 7, waves an American flag as the Labor Day Parade rolls through uptown Charlotte Monday, September 2, 2013. TODD SUMLIN - tsumlin@charlotteobserver.com

LeRoy Moyer said some people might see Monday’s 14th annual Charlotte Labor Day Parade as a gesture to times past.

“Some might think there’s no need any more, and I wish that were the case,” said Moyer, president of American Postal Workers Union Local 375. “But with the actions of corporate America, there is still a need for us, and for events like this.”

Moyers and the postal workers were among several groups of organized labor that joined political candidates, high school and community marching bands, and dance teams for the morning parade in uptown.

“Labor has created everything – the 40-hour work week, the labor laws,” Moyer said. “In a way, this is a day to celebrate. But it also reminds us of what needs to be done.”

Another of the groups marching was Electrical Workers Local 379. About two dozen men and women, clad in red T-shirts, waved to the crowds that lined Tryon Street. “It’s a holiday, and many people are off,” said a member of the group, identifying himself only as Greg. “A lot of people who are off today are not in unions, but they’re off, in part, because of the unions.”

For Moyer and the postal workers, Monday’s parade carried extra importance. He said marchers handed out hundreds of flyers to spectators, asking the public to contact their elected officials and lobby against proposals that would eliminate Saturday home mail delivery and cut staffing.

“Our kids and grandkids are with us today,” Moyer said. “They’re the future of our union.”

Some of those lining the streets Monday were there to watch relatives and friends march. Among them was Chris Fewell, whose daughter, Ariana Mitchem, is a member of the Garinger High School marching band.

“Ariana loves a parade,” Fewell said. “Being here is part of the deal of being a parent.”

And for some, Monday’s parade was a surprise. Mike and Glenda Moore of Tampa are visiting the Charlotte area this week and staying at the Westin Hotel uptown. They were out for a Labor Day stroll when a parade came by.

“We were checking out the area, and look what happened?” Mike Moore said. “This was kind of a treat.”

Steve Lyttle: 704-358-6107 Twitter: @slyttle
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