Lakeshore News Tonight

This article underwritten by: Renetta DuBose

94 Years Strong Honoring Labor in Lowell

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Fair work practices and community spirit gave hundreds of people something to cheer about Indiana’s longest running Labor Day parade in Lowell. 

The roaring sound of public safety vehicles, shots fired from veterans who kept our borders safe in foreign wars and a round of applause for those who lost their lives doing so permeated Commercial Avenue.

The parade line-up included civic people, like the Lions Club, which collected donations from parade watchers to pay for glasses for needy children in town.  Bands from Hanover Central and Lowell High Schools added to the music of the day as children competed for candy.  Despite the resounding cheer from various groups, the unions stood out for their strong showing.

“This is a time that we celebrate all of the battles that our forefathers fought to give us the conditions and the rights we have like a safe workplace, clean environment, health regulations and the eight hour work day,” said Doug Strayer, Ironworkers Local Union 395 Hammond, Business Manager.

Members of local Steelworkers, Autoworkers, Pipefitters, Boilermakers and Carpenters unions brought the important message of fair work.  Dan Enright, who represented the Carpenters Local 599 Union said even though the country is moving in the opposite direction of what unions fight for, they are not giving up.

“We negotiate fairly and we get a fair wage and we get fair benefits and that’s how our whole country should be.  Unfortunately, we’ve become a country of part time work and part time thinking,” said Enright.

Those who make the laws for laborers also took advantage of the crowd in Lowell. 

“It could be in an office, it could be laying brick, it could be doing ironwork.  People ought to be making a living wage.  I think that’s part of the message that permeates today,” said Pete Visclosky, U.S. Representative, District 1.

“Jobs are necessary and jobs are needed and this is a symbolic day of appreciating workers and people who made this country,” said Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter.

While the region will not hold general elections this fall, some savvy politicians, such as those running for lake county sheriff, know the time to cast a ballot will be right around the coroner.

“With the County Income Tax and with the money that’s being wasted.  I think we really need to take a close look at what we need to do.  I think we definitely need to unify the police departments.  I think there are a lot of police departments that are not happy with what’s going on here,” said Col. Richard Ligon, who plans to run for Lake County Sheriff.

“It’s time for a new generation of leadership, somebody that’s made an impact and made a different in Lake County.  I’ve seized a lot of drugs in my 20 years and I’m involved with the community with St. John girls soft ball league,” said Oscar Martinez, a contender for Lake County Sheriff.

More than 90 entries completed the parade.

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