Christmas Parade: Cola. CLC Distributes 5000 Pieces of Candy

On a rainy December Saturday morning, some members of the Columbia Central Labor Council and their friends walked through the streets of that city as part of an annual Christmas parade and handed out approximately 1000 little bags to children.

Each bag contained five pieces of candy, much of it from unionized companies, like Hersey's.  It took a total of four sessions with different volunteers, a total of almost 50 manhours, to stuff all of the candy into those bags.

And just as importantly, each bag was decorated with a festive sticker, sending a holiday greeting from the families of South Carolina union members. 

"We distributed almost 600 bags last year, and hope to do 1500 bags next year," said CLC Pres. Sandy Squirewell. "This effort grows every year."

"This is the most important PR effort in this right-to-work state that we could possibly accomplish for the money, which is a total of less than $500," added CLC Sec.-Treas. William Christopher. "And the important thing is that we came out in the rain. Our turnout wasn't great, but it wasn't bad, and a lot of parade entries dropped out completely. But there were still a lot of kids waiting on us, so I'm glad we were there for them."

The parade was broadcast on WIS-TV and long-time celebrity Joe Pinner cheered the group on as they passed in front of the grandstand, saying "Let's hear a round of applause for those hard-working men and women!"  The broadcast could also be heard through loudspeakers by those at the parade.

The information supplied to Pinner and his co-announcer to read included statements that the CLC is part of the AFL-CIO, which years ago brought time off to American workers and helped establish child labor laws. It added that CLC membership consisted of many groups, including doctors and nurses as well as teachers,  construction workers, firefighters and the people who deliver mail, even those who make concerts and other large entertainment events possible.