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Labor Day Parades in Charleston, Chapin: Groups Make Union Presence Known

William Christopher
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Groups from various South Carolina union groups got up early on Labor Day morning to participate in two separate parades:  Charleston and Chapin.  

The event in Chapin, north of Columbia near the densely populated Irmo and Lake Murray areas, is part of that town's annual festival and draws thousands of people each year.  The Chapin entry is typically organized by IATSE 347 and this year also included participation from the Greater Columbia Central Labor Council and the SC AFL-CIO.  Participants passed out Labor Day stickers to youngsters and pro-labor postcards to adults.

Gypsye Legge with IATSE 347 drove her truck while their President R.J. Foley carried signs.  "That area is full of conservatives but people are in a great mood for the parade and we're always well received," he said.  "We enjoy talking to folks before and after the event." 

Harold Geddings with SMART proudly wore his construction hat and carried a sign that read, "Organize!  Go Union!"

Columbia CLC Sec.-Treas. William Christopher carried one of the signs that read "Freedom to Join Together, Labor Day!" and an eagle kite on a pole.  "We were right between the mariachi band from the Mexican restaurant and the church entry with the live camel that stopped every 5 minutes to drink a Mt. Dew.  It was a great place to be seen and a tremendous PR effort.  Next year we'll give out little bags of candy with a pro-labor message, just as we plan to do in the upcoming Christmas parade."