Labor Day lessons part of unions' celebration

Labor Day
Union members and their families from across southwest Louisiana gathered Monday for the traditional Labor Day barbecue, but to many of them, it's more than just food, especially in today's economy.

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - "It's just a celebration of the American worker," said union member Craig Martin. "Through the good times and the bad times, the American worker is what's built this country, and what will continue to build this country. Today's just a celebration to get all these people together, different crafts, just have some good friends and fellowship."

For many of the union members, it's not just about the American worker, it's about keeping work local, giving local residents the opportunity to succeed and the southwest Louisiana economy a chance to prosper.

"It's very important to celebrate our local work, our local projects," said union member Carlos Perez. "We all have, some of our groups have 20 something contractors. Our contractors are small businesses too, here locally, who provide local work."

Members in attendance took time to celebrate with their families, including all things Labor Day, like horseshoes and washers.

Teri Johnson represented southwest Louisiana teachers at the event.

"Hey, I'm in the trenches," said Johnson. "I'm a laborer, and I know what it means. It's just a great day to celebrate and have a good time, and have others come out and listen to music and have a good time."

Those celebrating took time to remind the younger generation about the importance of the working class, as they joined together to celebrate their past work and to prepare for the future.

"It really means a lot, because during the year we're all going separate directions dealing with separate issues from a labor standpoint," said Kelly Craft. "Coming together on Labor Day, we get a chance to share some of the victories and some of the downsides to what we do in the country."

Copyright 2012 KPLC. All rights reserved.