We have had a busy summer attending many gatherings of social service agencies in Wayne Township, Fort Wayne and Allen County. At these events we bring along our board of pictures and information to inform and educate the public about what we do and about what resources are available here at the Wayne Township Trustee Office. The next event we’ll be present at is the annual Labor Day Picnic held by organized labor at Headwaters Park. We have had a booth at this event for many years, but for the last two years the picnic had to be put on hold because of the pandemic. Attendance at this free party has often reached several thousand people, and it was probably wise that when COVID-19 was circulating at high levels in our community the party was put on hold.
This year, however, the party is on! On Monday, September 5, from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM at Headwaters Park Northeast Indiana Unions will treat the community to a celebration of the contributions made by the working men and women of organized labor. There will be free food and beverages, entertainment including bingo and live music, and all kinds of kid’s activities. It’s a chance to get to know the grassroots of our community and their families, and to meet and interact with a wide array of agencies such as ourselves.
Labor Day, often thought of as the unofficial end of summer, is a tribute to working men and women and has been celebrated in the United States for over 125 years. In 1894, President Grover Cleveland declared the first Monday in September a national holiday to recognize the worth of labor throughout the country.
The labor movement was born from the idea of making work fairer for the workers who were putting so much of their energy into producing for the economy while often making barely enough money to feed their family. Before organized labor, “If you were a factory worker in the 1880s, you were probably toiling away at your job for an average of 60 hours a week, and it wasn’t unheard of for textile laborers in New York to make only 75 cents a day, which was a paltry sum, even for the time. To bring attention to these unfair working conditions, labor organizers coordinated the first Labor Day parade on Tuesday, September 5, 1882.”
Here at Wayne Township we are very much for people having good jobs that provide them with a livable income and that give them fulfillment and an opportunity to grow in a career. Two of our programs are aimed directly toward these goals: One is our Employment Program that links employers with openings to our job-seeking clients. The second is our Workfare Program that gives selected organizations and our client partners the chance to “try out” an employment position. We are also particularly proud of our relationship with labor groups who offer apprenticeships for workers to learn and experience skilled labor jobs. Just this year we introduced apprentices to solar energy jobs when we offered opportunities to upgrade our building with new energy efficient solar panels installed on our roof.
Our office will be closed in honor of Labor Day on Monday, September 5, but we will be present at the Labor Day Picnic. Come and join the celebration—As their flyer says “Union members and their families, all workers, unemployed workers and any other friends of working people are welcome.