Unions reflect on past, present, future on Labor Day

Local News

Labor Day is a day for us as workers to reflect on where we’ve come and where we’re going. 

“Especially Illinois and even Central Illinois, we have a rich labor history,” says Rhonda Sexton, AFSCME.

“It’s pride,” says Matt Bartolo, local 165. “It’s a sense of ownership. It’s a sense of community. It’s a sense of consumerism. When you give somebody a good wage, good security, with health insurance and retirement, they tend to be good consumers.” 

Central Illinois plays a large role in housing several different labor unions. 

The more well known– AFSMCE, Local 165 and UAW 974 out of East Peoria. 

“There are stories from on, and on, and on on how families maybe came out of poverty, or improved their lives and their comfort level and their security to where they can enjoy life,” says Clint Drury, Central Illinois Trade Council.  

“For us, it’s more than just the cookouts,” says Sexton. “You know, it’s commemorating you know, the blood, the sweat and the tears of the labor movement.”

For hundreds of years, they’ve fought for workplace security, livable wages and a fair chance. 

“Just having the conversation that people that pick up your trash, people that fix your roads and people that teach your kids at school, should be provided a good wage,” says Bartolo. “Should be provided good health care and a retirement.”

The true meaning of Labor Day is held in honor of working people.

Labor unions say they’re proud to represent the working class to provide safe and secure working conditions.

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