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What Labor Day means for Northeast Wisconsinites and the holiday's significance in Green Bay

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Posted at 9:59 PM, Sep 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-03 22:59:20-04

GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) -- It may seem like a simple day off work.

But it's a holiday that wouldn't exist without almost 150 years of labor.

"It celebrates the fact that everybody who contributes to the economy of this country is important to the economy of this country," Brown County Library local history expert Mary Jane Herber said.

On Monday, Northeast Wisconsin is set to observe a 139th Labor Day. Herber says it was started by a carpenters union in New York City back in 1882.

"Here in Green Bay, there were a number of big celebrations for years and years and years... decades," she said. "There were big celebrations where the mayors would speak and politicians would speak and other representatives of the community that were thought highly of."

Whether you're off or not on Labor Day, Herber says it's a moment that honors the entire workforce.

"Regardless of what level people are employed, they're important to make the cogs and the wheels function in a community," she said.

In Sheboygan, Mike Adamavich cherishes Labor Day.

"I've been a union carpenter for 29 years, and I can't say enough about what that's meant for my family and the ability to provide living wages and benefits," the business representative with the North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters said.

The holiday reminds Adamavich of all the carpenters who came before him, those who fought not only for a day off work.

"To help provide better livable wages and benefits for all, for all the middle class," Adamavich said.