The Grand Marshall of this year’s Labor Day Parade at the State Fair was led by a current military member. Senior Master SGT. Toby Shelly’s 29 year career in the military has taken him on a rewarding journey. He’s now a Superintendent with craftsmen for an Engineering Unit with the 174th Fighter Wing at Hancock Field.
Shelly appreciated the recognition from parade goers along the route.
“It’s very impressive; it’s moving. It’s something somewhat unique to America that we have unionized labor. A lot of the countries don’t have that. I’m proud to be a veteran that’s supported freedom and enabled all these people to do that. There’s a definite connection and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
Greater Syracuse Labor Council Executive Board Member Dawn Clarry says the parade really focused on military members with dual roles.
“Today we had a program where we had those military personnel speak and we’re able to thank them for their service. While they’re also in our communities every day as electricians, plumbers and nurses... they’re also on the front lines serving in our military and we wanted to say thank you.”
Clarry adds the Labor Union members also wanted to demonstrate that while they’re a part of labor, after their shifts are done, their work isn’t. She says they give back every day with contributions made to the United Way of Central New York. Last year, the organization raised more than 7.5 (M)- Million dollars and President Frank Lazarski says the labor unions played a large role.
“About 25 percent of that comes from the organized labor group. Whether it’s from the private labor groups like Anheuser Busch, we have the Teamsters and also in the public sector like out here at the State Fair with the State Troopers. They are all United Way donors.”
According to Lazarski, the Central New York Labor Unions have really stepped-up their volunteer efforts and workplace campaigns. He says one of them is “Stuff The Bus” which supplies much needed school supplies for kids heading back to school.