Thousands attend first annual Northwest Ohio Labor Fest in Maume - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Thousands attend first annual Northwest Ohio Labor Fest in Maumee

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This Labor Day marked the start of a new tradition in Maumee at the Lucas County Fairgrounds.

A newly formed coalition of labor unions, businesses, and community groups hosted the Northwest Ohio Labor Fest.

 "Solidarity forever!" says Bill Takacs of Gallon, Takacs, Boissoneault & Schaffer, one of the sponsors of Monday's event.

Thousands of people --- families from 31 local unions --- feasted and competed together at the first annual Northwest Ohio Labor Fest.

Gardiner is supporting her husband who is a Teamster.

"It's a job tradition,” says Gardiner. “Something to be proud of … that we've got job security.  And we're out here having fun."

From the dunk tank to a corn hole tournament, the fest didn't only focus on fun. 

It also celebrated history.

"Where we're at today is because of the labor movement,” says Ron Hipp, who works at the Heidelberg beer distribution company in Perrysburg. “The wages, the five-day work week, 40 hours a week, paid vacation, paid time off, medical leave."

The fest also rallied around potential fights for the future.

"We consistently look at what's happened over the last three years with Senate Bill 5 and Right to Work and we always stand poised to defend labor in the state of Ohio,” says Christopher Mabe, the President of Ohio Civil Service Employees Association.

Finally, the fest focused on giving back.  The event's 52 sponsors gave a $10,000 donation to the Ronald McDonald House of Northwest Ohio, a charity which helps ease the burden for families with sick kids in the hospital.

"This is a labor town and we're very active in the community,” says Kate Jacob who helped organize the Northwest Ohio Labor Fest.

Unions have seen membership drop steadily over the last three decades, but these families want to preserve a tradition.

 "I just moved on and got my brother into the union.  I'm hoping that someday my kids can be in the carpenter's union,” says Trent Blair who lives in Rossford.

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