Thousands march in annual Labor Day parade

PITTSBURGH — Hot and humid weather didn’t stop thousands of people from coming out to Downtown Pittsburgh for the annual Labor Day parade.

At 10 a.m. sharp, a sea of first responders and union workers made their way down Centre Avenue with their families and community leaders for one of the country’s oldest and largest Labor Day parades.

“Unions are critical. We need them,” said Donna Brown of SEIU 668 PSSU.

Temperatures had already reached 80 degrees by the time the parade started, so participants were encouraged to stay hydrated as they made their way to the U.S. Steel building. The president of the Allegheny Fayette Central Labor Council thanked the city for adding EMS units and spraying stations along the parade route to ensure that they can carry on this tradition even in extreme heat.

“We’re like the mailmen – we’re out in the elements every day, just like everybody else,” said Steve Mazza, the parade chairman representing the Allegheny Fayette Central Labor Council.

Channel 11 asked Anthony Lewis with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers what this means for him and his family.

“The kids get to see a lot of people who, you know, work in these unions…jobs and they see these buildings that get made, and they see what Daddy does when he goes it work…it’s nice I guess for the little ones,” Lewis said.

Other union workers agree, saying they want future generations to always remember why unions were started.

“Benefits, wages, all of these things…we would not have all of this, pensions, without the union,” said Anne Massucci of SEIU 668 PSSU.

Governor Josh Shapiro also participated in the parade.

Celebrations began early Monday morning with the annual mass at St. Benedict the Moor.

Download the FREE WPXI News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Channel 11 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch WPXI NOW