PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Labor Day parade is a tradition here in Pittsburgh. With 60,000 people expected to either watch or participate in the downtown event, the parade is much more than celebrating labor. It’s about politics as well.

“Today when we celebrate Labor Day, there are still a lot of people out of work, a lot of people out of hurting. There are still 509,000 in our state out of work, so we have to renew efforts to maintain jobs,” says Senator Bob Casey, Jr.

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Being the unofficial start to this campaign season isn’t lost upon the candidates. Many politicians, including Senator Casey, made their appearances at the parade on Monday.

For those running for office and those supporting other candidates, the Labor Day parade is a place for primarily democratic officials to make their positions known this year, on the eve of the Democratic National Convention.

“We need to continue to support good work, good pay, that’s what the upcoming election is all about,” Mayor Luke Ravenstahl says.

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“This year we see so many attacks on organized labor across the country with different legislators and governors trying to take away collective bargaining rights,” Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald says.

“Bring Our Jobs Home” was the theme of this year’s parade and that is a subject that will be very much a part of the Presidential race this November. 

How the candidates and unions will reconcile the two will be determined later by voters over the next few months.

“I think you’re going to see organized labor defend working class families and that’s a wonderful thing today,” says Ed Gainey of the 24th Legislative District.  

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Lynne Hayes-Freeland