[photogallerylink id=25362 align=left]Thousands of people attended the annual Labor Day parade down Woodward and Michigan Avenue Monday morning. Leaders called for more jobs.
Musicians from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra were in the front of the parade as they battle with management over a tight budget.
Metropolitan Detroit AFL-CIO President Saundra L. Williams says in a statement that the musicians from the nationally recognized orchestra and the Detroit Federation of Musicians were invited to lead Monday’s parade in a show of support.
The orchestra is in turmoil, with the union voting to reject management proposals and authorizing a strike to try to avoid steep pay cuts. Musicians spokesman Brian Ventura tells WWJ they are willing to give up 22 percent of their pay, but management wants more than that.
“We don’t want to have a permanent downsizing or downgrading of the orchestra’s status,” Ventura said. “That will make it harder for us to maintain the artistic level, will make it harder for us to keep the great musicians that we have and harder to have the best musicians come and audition for the orchestra.”
The orchestra has said it’s disappointed that musicians rejected proposals.
Musicians will work until at least Sept. 23 under terms of the old contract. The season is scheduled to start in October.
Democrat Virg Bernero and his running mate, Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence, along with attorney general nominee David Leyton were near the beginning of the parade as well.
UAW President Bob King said jobs for all will go a long way toward curing America’s woes.
“We have to have and FDR works type program, we gotta get people back to work rebuilding the power grid, rebuilding the sewer system, the highway system and the bridge system,” King told WWJ’s Ron Dewey. “We got to get Americans back to work.”
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis defended President Barack Obama’s efforts to combat the recession and unemployment, saying his focus has been on helping the jobless and underemployed.
Solis says the Obama administration knows people are hurting from the weak economy. She pointed to last year’s $814 billion economic recovery act and administration proposals for job training and hiring incentives for businesses.
On CBS’ “Early Show,” she said that over the last eight months, the U.S. economy has added some 90,000 private sector jobs each month.
Critics have cited persistent unemployment rates of nearly 10 percent and only faint signs that businesses are rehiring workers.
© MMX WWJ Radio, All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to his report.