FOX VALLEY (NBC 26) — Monday morning’s Fox Valley Labor Day celebrations began with a parade through Neenah and Menasha.
One parade-goer couldn't pick his favorite part.
"Everything. Everything in this parade,” said one young parade-goer.
Others took joy in the small things.
"My favorite part was the candy with all the sugar in it,” said another young parade-goer.
After the parade, the crowd gathered at the Neenah Labor Temple.
"This is all in celebration and acknowledgment of the working people in the Fox Valley area,” said Mark Westphal, the president of the Fox Valley Area Labor Council AFL-CIO.
2022 marks the 39th year of celebration in Neenah. For some, Labor Day is one of the last days to enjoy the summer sun before the school year. However, the annual holiday is about so much more than a long weekend of picnics and parades.
"We want to thank the working men and women of the Fox Valley and the working families for all they do, all year long. One day out of the year, they deserve it,” said Westphal.
A recent Gallup survey found that 71% of Americans approve of labor unions, yet only 10% are allowed to be in one.
"The biggest thing is our labor laws in this country are broken,” said Westphal. "We need to update the National Labor Act so that those workers that truly want to be in a union don't face as many barriers as there are out there today."
According to the Fox Valley Area Labor Council, the surge in workers organizing we're seeing this Labor Day isn't happening by accident.
The Labor Council explained that compared to the previous year, there have been 69% more petitions for workers to organize unions submitted to the National Labor Relations Board.
"People finally realized… we need to have the dignity and respect and the voice on the job that a union can give us,” said Westphal.
This Monday morning, the focus was honoring all working people and the labor movement who made this day possible.