Sharing the spotlight on Labor Day

Hundreds of skilled workers gathered in Terre Haute Monday for a parade to celebrate them. But built into the festivities was also a platform for those looking toward the next election to get their names out there.

Posted: Sep 3, 2018 5:23 PM
Updated: Sep 3, 2018 6:27 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Labor Day is a yearly tribute to the strength, prosperity, and well-being workers have made in our country.
Hundreds of skilled workers gathered in Terre Haute Monday for a parade to celebrate them.

Mark Swaner, Business Manager for the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 157 says, "We are the only people in the United States that train the people who keep your refineries, keep your powerhouses, and everything on-line. Nobody else educates and trains their work force."

A photo of one of the floats in the Terre Haute Labor Day Parade. (WTHI Photo, Lacey Clifton)

The loved ones of these laborers were by their sides. They’re the reason the workers put in the long hard hours at work.

Chris Wilson, Assistant Business Agent for IBEW 1393 says, "It’s all about our families. You know? What we try to do as a union is make our quality of life better. Working hard every day at trying to make the little things better and what we can focus on, it makes our lives better at home."

But built into the Labor Day Parade, was also a platform for those looking toward the next election to get their names out there.

Swaner shares, "Some are in more support of their agenda, you know? But I hope all politicians that are here on the day of labor, are here to support labor."

Wilson says he shares those thoughts too, tying it back to the reason he gets up for work every day.

Wilson reflects, "Every political race is going to be a little bit different from time to time. And for us, as long as they've got the best interest of the working family, you know, that's what the focus is on. So if they're out here and truly support that, we need to make sure that transitions into the political realm."

But at the end of the day, the parade is a tradition. Shining a light on the very people who work to keep the lights on, the water running, and much more.

Wilson says, "For us, you know, we're the unspoken soldiers. We are considered a first responder. So in the middle of the night when you’re asleep and your lights go out, one of our guys is out there getting it back on. You know it's a big commitment, it's a lot of time away from your family, and it's a lot of difficult working conditions.”

Wilson says IBEW 1393 also spends a lot of time on community outreach. He says the group raises thousands of dollars for good causes each year.

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