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Union Members Talk About The History of the Holiday

Parades, music, and the celebration of the American worker.

It is what many picture when they think about Labor Day. Boilermaker John Tortat says his favorite part of the holiday is being with loved ones.

“This is our family, we get together with other union members from other trades and it doesn’t matter if you’re a boilermaker, you’re an electrician, you’re a fitter, you’re a laborer, we’re all family here,” said Tortat.

Electrician Paul Flynn says the holiday reminds him why he is a part of a union in the first place.

“We only ask what’s fair…what’s right and what’s fair, we’re asking for a decent days pay for a decent wage, that’s it,” said Flynn.

While he’s not with friends or marching in the parade, Fynn takes time to remember what organized labor has accomplished, such as child labor laws.

“Children need to be in school, they shouldn’t be at jobs at that young age, they should be in school. So we made a law that says you gotta be 16 years old to work,” he said.

Tortat said it is also important to remember that unions still serve a vital purpose today.

“Some of the laws are starting to regress against unions, we need to at least maintain what we have and expand upon them in the future,” he said.

Tortat says he hopes people invest time in learning about the history of workers’ rights to preserve them in the future.

Andy Weber

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