The 2015 Labour Day Parade in Windsor. (Photo by Adelle Loiselle)

Striking Library Workers Lead Windsor’s Labour Day Parade

This Labour Day is taking on a more poignant meaning for Lori Wightman, the public face of a protracted battle between the County of Essex and it’s striking library workers.

CUPE Local 2974 leads this year’s parade up Walker Rd. to the Fogolar Furlan Club. It’s how the library workers will mark day 73 on the picket line.

“It’s so hard for me to say,” says Wightman. “This is the true meaning of solidarity, right? This is our brothers and sister in other labour groups that are honouring us in a way, that are standing with us, that are holding us up, so it means the world to us.”

“It makes us feel like we’re not alone. It gives us strength to go one more day, one more day, one more day,” she says admitting it can get tempting to feel alone and forget the support of the community momentarily when one person makes a disparaging comment to the workers on the sidewalk.

“We have bad days. You forget the 20 people that gave your a smile or a thumbs up.”

Many in the local head single-parent families and they’re feeling the financial strain of going without a steady pay cheque, but Wightman says the donations to the union’s food bank and gift cards from the public are helping the workers make ends meet.

“We’ve had tremendous support from labour groups, from the public,” she says. “We’re supporting each other emotionally. We’re a team now, more than we ever were before. I don’t know if management thought of that. We’re a family now.”

Wightman says the union is still waiting for talks with the county library board to resume.

The parade gets underway at 10am.