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Labor Day Cookout Celebration
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) The sights and sounds of the annual Labor Day picnic.
Its a day to celebrate workers, and in the corridor there is indeed something to celebrate.
"We're growing, said the Business Manager for IBW Local 405 Bill Hanes. In Cedar Rapids, IBW 405 is as large as it's been in its 102-year history.
Hanes represents unionized electrical workers. Thanks to post-2008 flood rebuilding, his local has grown, bucking a national trend. Across Iowa, the number of union workers has dropped by nearly half in the past three decades.
Even though, union argues, It's been proven that the wages are higher, the benefits are better and that helps create a middle class, or a working class, we can call it, said the Executive Director of the Hawkeye Labor Council Rick Moyle.
Ask any union worker and theyll tell you they make up Americas middle class. Thats why every Labor Day, every election cycle, would-be politicians come calling.
"Encouraging collective bargaining is the conservative way to reinvigorate the middle class, said David OBrien, a democrat running for Bruce Braleys 1st District Seat.
"Labor grows because business grows and business grows because good labor is available in this state," said Representative Jack Hatch, who will announce his candidacy for governor later this month.
Workers might have moved away from unions since the 1930s, but it might not be that way for much longer.
"Once people see what unions have done for the middle class and see that erode, with that I think you're going to see a rebirth of the union movement, said Hanes.
"Over the last 40 years, worker productivity in the United States is at an all-time high yet wages have remained stagnant for that time period," said Moyle.
Labor and politics go together like brats and beer. But this Labor Day, politics aside, it was a great day for a picnic.