Labor Day is a day of pride and celebration for union members, a time to celebrate their organization’s accomplishments and build for the future.
Union members at Monday’s Labor Day parade say unions are strong and they think current economic challenges could be a good opportunity for growth.
Gray skies and drizzle at Rockford’s Labor Day parade reflected the economic climate in the U.S. and the forest city where unemployment has climbed to almost percent.
"When we see so many good jobs going to china it really is creating problems and as a federal government we need to look closer at our trade policy and see if it really is fair,” says Illinois Senator Dave Syverson.
On Labor Day, union members marching in red white and blue are hoping the federal government will protect their jobs. They think the economic downturn and corporate accounting scandals will lead more Americans to unions.
"You can look at Enron and WorldCom. These people here are the ones that are hurting. With our pension plans and government oversight of our programs maybe the federal government should do the same with big corporation,” says Local 32 Laborer Tom DalSanto.
Union membership is growing each year, but after decades of loss unions have a lot of work to do.
"There are a lot of people that don't know about unions. They know nothing about it and they think it's really hard. But it's rather easy and it's the future,” says Local 792 member Lamark Powell.
Union officials say membership in America grew by about a half million last year.