Labor Day 2023 – Thank the Few Who Served the Many

La Crosse Laborfest 2023 thanks the following volunteers. There would not have been a La Crosse Labor Day Parade & Fest without their dedication and help.

While many Coulee area residents celebrated Labor Day with picnics, barbecues, family reunions, and by enjoying the festivities at Copeland Park this year, it was the dedicated few who make it all possible. La Crosse Laborfest 2023 would not take place without the help and support of the few who volunteer to make La Crosse’s celebration the best it can be. These unpaid volunteers are the backbone of Labor Day in the Coulee Region.

This year, with assistance from the volunteers listed above and the friends listed below, the Western Wisconsin AFL-CIO was able to continue a 132-year tradition, the La Crosse’s Labor Day Parade & Fest, on Monday, September 4, 2023.

The parade stepped off at 10:00 AM from the corner of Gillette and Kane Streets on the north side of La Crosse. The 2023 parade marshal was Terry L. Hicks, one of a select few individuals who have been La Crosse Parade Marshal more than once.  Previously, Terry was parade marshal in 2003.

Terry was president of the Western Wisconsin AFL-CIO for a record breaking 16 years and currently serves as the president emeritus of the Western Wisconsin AFL-CIO. In addition, Hicks’s been the editor-in-chief of Western Wisconsin’s Union Herald for over two decades. The Union Herald is one of just three union newspapers left in the State of Wisconsin.

With a record of union service like Terry’s, please take the time to thank Terry for his dedication and service to the labor movement.

I’m stuck by a similarity between Terry Hicks and Mike Davis Jr, current president of the Western Wisconsin AFL-CIO. It was many a year that Terry’s spouse Mary and his children assisted at Labor Day. This year, Mike, his three sons and several family friends helped to make Labor Day 2023 a great one. Family involvement is truly wonderful, but others need to step forward to help as well.

The same goes for the friends that President Mike Davis Jr recruited and/or cajoled to help with Laborfest 2023. While it is all well and good to involve the public at labor events, the help of family and friends should not be the determining factor of success as it has been for many years.

In addition to Mike’s three sons Lance, Colten, and Hudson, friends of Mike’s that lent a hand at Laborfest 2023 include Crystal Edge, Steve Leither, Keri Leither, Hannah Arenz, Winona Norberg, and Lavender Blumenstein.

One can clearly see that it takes a lot of effort to put on a successful Labor Day celebration at La Crosse. While the involvement of family and friends was great, union brothers and sisters of the Coulee Region need to lend a hand. The annual event needs more union volunteers so that the family and friends of the officers of your labor council can better enjoy Labor Day.

One of Western Wisconsin AFL-CIO ‘s goals for the Labor Day event is to provide residents of the area with a family-friendly parade and holiday experience while celebrating and honoring all working people in the Coulee Region. It’s only thanks to the volunteers listed above that we were able to do that this year.

Mike had this to say about Labor Day 2023, “Today, we take the time to recognize and thank the working people of our country who form the backbone of America. Wisconsin residents across the state are working hard to support their families and move our state forward, and labor promises to stand behind the working families of Wisconsin.”

International AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler said this about unionism on Labor Day, “The idea of a union may sound complicated, but unions are just a group of people coming together. They are about each of us becoming the most powerful version of ourselves that we possibly can.”

Labor Day is a day to remember the rights of working people are not gifts but won and defended by grassroots movement driven by a desire and passion for change.

To the reader: Please consider volunteering in the future. We need your help!