Posted: Sep 2, 2013 9:11 PM by Jamie Leary - MTN News
BUTTE - While Labor Day is a great opportunity to get away from work for the day, the meaning behind it holds a much larger significance especially in the Mining City.
"Union members and their supporters came from near and far to shake each other's hands, eat some good food and share a few laughs," Jeff Williams, Vice President of the Southwest Montana Labor Council, said.
Politicians came out to say thank you.
John Walsh, Lieutenant Governor of Montana said, "It's a great time to get out and meet people and thank people for what they've done to improve a lot of things in the workforce around Montana."
They also showed future generations where a little hard work will get them. Montana's Commissioner of Labor and Industry Pam Bucy said, "You do all have a friend in Helena."
But both Bucy and Walsh lost the hula hoop contest to hard working kids within the first five seconds though.
This wasn't always the scene at the Butte Labor Day Picnic.
"The Labor Day Picnic was a great historical event here in Butte but when they were shutting down so much of the Anaconda Copper Company, it kinda fell into disrepair so we re-started them," Evan Barrett, Labor Day Picnic Organizer of ‘79, said. "We didn't start them."
When Barrett started it back up, thousands filled Stodden Park and he has a theory as to why it was more popular back then.
"We had a massive beer supply," Dave Powers, also a Labor Day Picnic Organizer of ‘79, said. "We would probably go between seven and 15 kegs of beer - average showing was probably two to three thousand people."
"And ya know with liability laws the beer had to kinda go away and the crowd shrunk a bit..;," Barrett said. But even without all the beer, "The role of labor in american life is even more important. Organized labor..."