Labor Day Parade steps out Monday

December 06, 2018

   Monday will focus on Americana and the nation’s tradition of hard workers at the 14th Annual Labor Day Parade in Santa Paula.
   The parade will start at 10 a.m., stepping out from Seventh Street onto East Main Street and the procession will end at the Gazebo where awards will be announced.
   Leading the 2018 Labor Day Parade is Grand Marshal Lee Cole, president/CEO/chairman of the board of Calavo Growers Inc., headquartered in Santa Paula, with a workforce of about 2,000.
   “He’s a hard worker, employs a lot of people,” said Anita Gonzales of Santa Paula, a member of the Labor Day Committee. “Lee is always working and is very generous to the community — you ask and he gives. He was a great classmate, too; I went to school with him. We’re Santa Paula High School Class of 1958,” as was his late wife, Jeanette.
   So far, there are more than 50 entries in the parade, one of the few held in the state, with a lineup ranging from veterans groups, public safety and school personnel, clubs and organizations and bands to unions, agricultural workers, churches, volunteer groups, equestrians and more.
   According to the U.S. Department of Labor, “Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a
creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country.”   The man who first proposed the holiday for workers is still in question.
   Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”

   But McGuire’s place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Others believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not McGuire, founded the holiday.

   Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.
   The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on Sept. 5, 1883.
   In 1884, the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.
   The Santa Paula Labor Day Parade Committee, spearheaded by the late Joanne Wright in 2005, was surprised by the large turnout of its first procession, which drew a crowd from

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