GREEN BAY — The Greater Green Bay Labor Council celebrated Labor Day with a picnic at Bay Beach on Monday afternoon.
The organization is one of nearly 500 state and local labor councils of the AFL-CIO. The group reflected on the labor movement and those that sacrificed everything to make unionization possible.
In the early days of unions, the groups were a point of conflict with some business owners and politicians strongly opposed to unionizing.
"Boy at that time if somebody said the word union they might be killed literally. There was quite an attempt at supression," said Greater Green Bay Labor Council president Steve McFarlane.
McFarlane said that unions grew throughout the mid 1900s during the height of their power.
"Labor unions were just populating all over the place and it came so far to the mid 70s," said McFarlane.
In recent decades McFarlane said there was a decline in union members, but he believes things are beginning to turn around.
"Now unions are just starting to catch back up with that time," said McFarlane.
Several local and state politicians spoke at the event and urged those in attendance to vote for pro-worker and pro-union candidates in the November midterm elections.
The picnic also included food, raffles, games, and music for all in attendance. It had been held in previous years but organizers said it was put on hold for a while due to the pandemic.