ESCANABA, Mich. (WZMQ) – Delta County came together in Escanaba on Monday to celebrate Labor Day.
People lined Ludington Street and filled the Municipal Park for the annual Labor Day parade and festivities. This year’s event was the third of its kind hosted by Delta County Trades & Labor.
“Years ago, folks started a charity fund which, in turn, goes back to scholarship funds for the kids in high school,” said co-chair Todd Flath. “Also, throughout the course of the year, we donate money back to our community. So all moneys that we receive from Labor Day events go right back into our community. There’s not a dime spent anywhere else but our community.”
Crowds enjoyed food and drinks, activities for kids, and live music throughout the afternoon. However, for people like the members of Ironworkers Local 8 of Milwaukee, Labor Day is more than just a day off.
“Ironworkers union specifically was started by a death benefit—accidents on the job taking the lives of members and guys putting money together to take care of the widow,” said Tim Roman, business agent for Ironworkers Local 8.
The union has continued to advocate for its workers and their families for more than 100 years, through all the changes and hardships the industry has experienced.
“There’s a worker shortage,” Roman said. “We have a lot of young folks, less skills. Jobs are still dangerous. I think it’s important to recognize that there’s still value in safety and health benefits, financial backing, security for retirement.”
That’s why Flath says it is as crucial as ever to recognize the importance of Labor Day during all the festivities.
“The reason I celebrate, and I think the reason a lot of others celebrate, is organized labor,” he said. “Just a fun-filled day to remember our past, present, and future brothers and sisters in our organizations and all the trades.”
The events at the Municipal Park continue through 8:00 p.m.