Recap: Solidarity Forever Parade
In commemoration of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike, AESES entered a float in the Solidarity Forever Parade on May 25th, along with a small contingent of AESES members and their families.
We definitely stood out with a brightly coloured float and live music. Our theme was “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants,” to honour those who went on strike in 1919, making a tremendous impact to collective bargaining for the future. It was also an opportunity to honour our (mostly) retired AESES members who went on strike in 1975, after negotiating our first collective agreement at the University of Manitoba.
On the float representing a telephone operator (or Hello Girl) was Joan Duesterdiek, UW Contract Administrator. Representing an elevator operator was AESES staff member Blair Zelinsky. On the next platform were two retired AESES members who had been on the picket line in 1975, Brenda Miller and Janet Sealey (AESES past-President 1999-2006). Behind them were Lynda Closson and Laurie Morris (AESES President), representing current members. Finally, at the top of the float were our musicians, Darryl Reilly and AESES Board member, Rob Parker. Thank you to you all.
Many thanks are required, starting with the AESES Ad hoc 1919 Strike Event Committee (Leanne Shumka, Chris McCann, Rob Parker, Heather Brownlee, Dianne Bulback, and Bill Spornitz), for their willingness to take on many tasks and events for this once-in-a-lifetime celebration.
Thanks also go out to:
- Mike Thul, UW, for assisting us with the trailer rental and a place to store and decorate the float.
- Bill and Carol Belsham, for the use of their big truck and driving our float through the parade. What a bonus that the truck was white!
- Darryl Reilly and Rob Parker, for their musical talents. The labour songs were a roaring success!
- Shane Stewart, for helping with the build and assisting the decorating and tear-down process.
- Karen Schellenberg, for assisting with costume selection.
- Carmine Vizza and Steven Labay, UW, for their assistance with moving the risers, when and as needed.
- Chris McCann, AESES Executive Vice-President, for our banners and t-shirts, and shuttling pieces of our build between the UM and UW.
- Astro Parade Company, for great decorations and their able assistance in determining what supplies we needed.
- The Sound Exchange, for donating the telephone operator headsets for our use.
- The decorators: Heather Brownlee, Leanne Shumka, Joan Duesterdiek, Shane Stewart, Lynda Closson, and Gloria and Don Saindon.
- Our Press Agent: Dan Gwozdz. Thanks for taking pictures and videos, so we could showcase our involvement.
- Parade marshals: Leanne Shumka, Dianne Bulback, Heather Brownlee and Gail Mackisey.
- Ron Morris, for shuttling people from the end of the parade to their cars and hauling float items back to AESES.
- Our contingent of walkers. I won’t try to name everyone, since I would definitely forget a few. But, I would like to thank you for picking up the gauntlet thrown down at Members’ Day. I hope you enjoyed handing out freebies to the many spectators and the free concert at Memorial Park following the parade.
Finally, I would like to commend the Manitoba Federation of Labour (MFL) and the parade organizers for their dedication and hard work on the parade and the following concert. It was an unbelievable event that I will never forget!
Thank you, everyone! I really hope that I didn’t forget anyone in my gratitude. If I did, I apologize and extend my thanks!
Laurie Morris, AESES President