Sept. 2, 2003 – A modest parade of some seven vehicles and 10 individuals, mostly children, wound their way from Plaza Extra East to Island Center for St. Croix's Labor Day Solidarity March on Monday.
"It's not about quantity, but quality," Terrence "Positive" Nelson, president of Our Virgin Islands Labor Union, said as he thanked the participants. OVILU, a locally based union, was established in 1999.
OVILU handouts distributed following the march stated that the territory is facing "crucial spiritual, economic and political times." The flyers urged the "workers, residents and taxpayers of this community to come together to safeguard our treasury, children and land from the wasteful plundering of an incoherent government and politicians."
In the United States, Labor Day is traditionally observed on the first Monday in September in recognition of the contributions workers have made to the nation's strength, prosperity and well-being.
According to the U.S. Labor Department Web site, the first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City. It was suggested that the observance take the form of a street parade for a public showing of "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations" of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families.
In a Labor Day statement, V.I. Democratic Party chair James O'Bryan Jr. said on behalf of the party that the holiday is "the one day when we stop to honor the work that has made our nation and the territory great. It is also the day to celebrate the accomplishments of the Virgin Islands labor movement. Clearly thousands of Virgin Islanders have enjoyed higher wages, better benefits, more secure jobs and greater safety and fairness in the workplace thanks to the territory's trade unions."
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