Hundreds of building trades members marched in the Toledo Labor Day parade on Sept. 4, and later in the day, celebrated the holiday by attending the annual Labor Fest event.
Thousands of Northwest Ohioans lined the streets of downtown Toledo, as union members marched through the streets, honoring their Brothers and Sisters who sacrificed so much to give unions what they have today. The Toledo Blade reported more than 100 unions marched in the city’s Annual Labor Day parade.
Joining the marchers were Betty Sutton and Joe Schiavoni, both Democratic candidates running for Ohio governor, Toledo’s four mayoral candidates, community organizations and high school bands.
Ron Rothenbuhler, former chairman of the Lucas County Democratic Party and a retired leader from the regional carpenters union, served as parade marshal.
Following the parade, more than a thousand union members and their families, including many from the Northwest Ohio Building Trades, attended the Fourth Annual Labor Fest, held at the Lucas County Fairgrounds.
Labor Fest is open only to union members and their families. It featured food, drinks, live music, speakers, games and activities for children.
Labor Fest Board of Directors member John Mickey, who also serves as the event’s Food and Beverage Chairman, said more than 5,000 people attended the event. Mickey, from Heat and Frost Insulators Local 45, said the event is gaining in popularity, as it set a new attendance record.
“We’ve been doing it for four years and it’s really blossoming into something special,” said Mickey. “The first couple of years, attendance was decent, but word is getting out about Labor Fest.”
The event also raised $10,000 for the Mercy Health Foundation of Greater Toledo.
According to their website, Mercy’s mission is to extend the healing ministry of Jesus by improving the health of our communities, with an emphasis on the poor and underserved.
Chris Monaghan, Business Agent for Sheet Metal Workers Local 33 and also a member of the Labor Fest Board of Directors, said the committee picked Mercy Health because the organization is building a new in-patient facility for drug rehabilitation.
Each year, the Labor Fest committee picks a community organization to donate money raised during Labor Fest.
Last year, the event raised $15,000 for the Lucas County Sheriff’s Drug Abuse Response Team (D.A.R.T.), which helps drug users, especially those battling heroin addiction, get help at a rehabilitation center.