Labor Fest celebrates unions on Labor Day - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Labor Fest celebrates unions on Labor Day

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Organizers say Madison's annual Labor Fest saw one of it's largest turnouts this year.

Labor leaders say limitations on union bargaining rights in recent years has helped boost numbers. Dues for many public employee unions are now voluntary, but union officials say union groups are rebuilding despite fewer resources.

"We built the labor movement long before we had the right to collect dues from everybody," says John Matthews, executive director of Madison Teachers, Inc. "It's kind of like going back to the beginning and that's what we have to do, and we in the labor movement all know that's what we have to do."

The South Central Federation of Labor sponsors the annual Labor Fest outside their office on Park Street in Madison.

Long-time attendees say the collective bargaining limits in the state budget two years ago plus the current friction at the state Capitol have motivated union activism.

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