DETROIT (WWJ) – Thousands will join in for a march and rally in Detroit Monday, all part of the Labor Day Parade.

Saundra Williams, President of Metro Detroit’s AFL-CIO says they have two themes this year.

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“Labor and community, we are one, and that is the parade theme because we have asked the community to come out and walk with us,” said Williams. “The second (message) has to do with ‘America Wants To Work’, ‘Good Jobs Now’, so certainly everybody feels that Michigan wants to work, so we want folks to come out and join with us and bring that message home.”

The parade kicks off at 9:15 a.m.

President Barack Obama and Aretha Franklin will highlight post march events.


The president’s speech at an annual event sponsored by the Metropolitan Detroit AFL-CIO was serving as a dress rehearsal for the jobs address he’ll deliver to a joint session of Congress on Thursday night.

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Mr. Obama’s appearance follows last Friday’s dismal jobs report, which showed that employers added no jobs in August. It was the first time since 1945 that the government reported a net job change of zero. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, held steady at 9.1 percent.

The disappointing report sparked new fears of a second recession and injected fresh urgency into efforts by Obama to help get millions of unemployed people back into the labor market – and help improve his chances of getting re-elected.

Polls show the economy and jobs are the public’s top concerns. Public approval of Obama’s stewardship of the economy hit a new low of 26 percent in a recent Gallup survey.

Obama’s plan is expected to include a combination of individual and business tax credits and public works spending. He will also press lawmakers for swift action on those proposals.

In Detroit on Monday, Obama was also expected to tout his efforts to save the auto industry and millions of jobs by providing federal bailouts in 2009 for General Motors Corp. and Chrysler Group LLC. The AFL-CIO rally was being held in a GM parking lot.


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(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)