Duluth Labor Day Picnic Brings Laborers Together

DULUTH, Minn. – Labor Day means different things to different people across the country. Here in the Northland, there is no Labor Day without the word labor.

That solidarity was on full display Monday at Bayfront Festival Park. The annual event is hosted by the Duluth Central Labor Body. Whether you like food or politicians, it was the place to be. Organized labor is an important part of DFL Governor Tim Walz’s base. He said there had been a decline in union participation over the decades, but not recently.

“We are now seeing that reversed and Minnesota’s labor unions are growing,” says Walz. “So I think being here and making it clear that the right to collective bargaining is a fundamental right. We here to support it, to celebrate this idea that the folks who build, the folks who care for us, the folks who teach, the people that protect us, police and firefighters, those are union members, they’re your neighbors.”

For longtime union members like Dan Olson, it was great to be able to get together again after COVID had made things challenge over the past couple years.

“I represent 13,500 people in Minnesota and North Dakota,” says Olson, a business manager and member of Laborers Local 1091. “I’ve been a laborer since 1975, so I’m deep into what this is, and what it means to the people that are here. This is an opportunity. There are careers that people have looked for, and celebrating Labor Day once a year is just a tribute to themselves. And they should all be thanked and rewarded.

Labor, jobs and related issues are expected to be key elements in the upcoming elections in November.

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