Celebrating Union Power! Photos from Our 2022 Labor Day Parades

Typically, when HTC members devote their non-working hours to Union activity, it’s to build power by knocking on doors to get out the vote or by coming to a union picket line. But last weekend, HTC members turned out by the hundreds simply to celebrate!

On September 9th and 10th, HTC participated in both New Jersey’s and New York City’s annual Labor Day Parades, marching and chanting alongside family and friends. The party started Friday night in Newark, where the parade was preceded by a rally with live music and speeches. “The workers, UNITED, will never be defeated!” chanted New Jersey resident Maria Drejaj, a Room Attendant at the Mandarin Oriental. “That’s my favorite chant, because it’s the truth! And when you participate in a big Union event like this, you really feel it.”

Members celebrated until the sun went down. “Nobody brings the energy like we do!” Nicole Palacios, a Front Desk Agent at the Sofitel, said with pride. “That’s a big part of what makes us so special.”

2022 Newark Labor Day Parade

The next afternoon, the festivities continued in Manhattan, where more than 250 HTC members gathered for a block party before the big march.

Some faces were familiar: Charlie Montalbano, Curtis Nimmons, Maria Lago, Aman "Jay" Laut, and Aristeo Herrera are a few of the many who attended both parades. “And if there was one tomorrow, I’d go to that one too!” said Aristeo, a Technician at the Encore.

Members greeted each other and geared up to celebrate, stocking up on new HTC tank tops, baseball hats, balloons, fans, and sandwiches prepared by the HTC culinary team from the Central Park Boathouse. Some hotels organized big group arrivals! Members from the Empire Hotel, Park Hyatt, Millennium Broadway, Roosevelt, Park South, Pod 39, the Algonquin, Park Lane, One Brooklyn Bridge, Marriott Marquis, the Lucerne, the Pierre, Sheraton Times Square and more arrived in unison. Betty Rice, a Room Attendant at Millennium Broadway, said, “When I heard we were doing the parade again, I started telling everybody: get ready, we’re going!”

Some hopped aboard HTC’s parade float, while others rehearsed lyrics from HTC’s chant booklet. “It’s important to get everybody chanting loud and together,” said Shamim Ahamed, a Server Assistant at Lotte New York Palace who distributed booklets. “It shouldn’t be too hard. Everyone here knows how important it is to be organized!”

When members got the green light to march, they lit up Fifth Avenue with Union pride! The celebration stretched more than 20 city blocks, and HTC never ran out of energy for a second.

“This is the first time I’ve been around such a big group of Union brothers and sisters,” said Chris Ortiz, a Bellman at Park South, as well as an impassioned hype man who commanded the megaphone for many blocks. “It feels great to meet so many other members and come together to celebrate our Union power.”

“The political volunteering you do for the Union is really important,” said Tsering Wangmo, a Room Attendant at Empire Hotel. “But so is this! Coming together to meet other members and put our pride on display for the city makes us stronger.”

“It’s refreshing!” replied Sonam Kinga Wangdu, a Houseman at Empire Hotel, who brought his children with him. “It can be easy to forget that you’re part of a larger movement. I already can’t wait for next year!"

2022 New York City Labor Day Parade