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On Labor Day, many communities across the country celebrate with parades and other events.
In cities like Kansas City, Mo., and Detroit, Mich., people lined the streets Monday to highlight the struggles of working people. It’s something that at one time happened here, but despite the area being known as a union town, there were no formal events on Monday.
That surprised Don Crane, president of the Western Reserve Building Trades Council.
“It is a shock as a labor leader. In fact, it’s been one of those things that I really wanted to jump on to sort of spearhead,” Crane said.
“I don’t think people have the same focus they used to have. I don’t think young people have those same focuses that we had. Columbiana was a big labor town at one time and I can remember the parade being a really big thing,” said Robert Macklin of Columbiana.
The Mahoning Valley is a huge labor area and downtown Youngstown boasts the Museum of Industry and Labor, also known as the Youngstown Steel Museum, near the Youngstown State University campus.
The museum preserves the history of the area’s steel industry. And while steel isn’t as prominent in the area’s current economic climate, Crane thinks other industries will provide a bright future for labor and the Valley.
“I think the work’s going to be great for really all aspects, whether it’s manufacturing or manufacturing expansions or even in the construction industry,” Crane said.
One of the reasons for his positive outlook is the oil and gas industry.
“Whether it’s the actual sites themselves which are individually a $4 million construction project, or the plants and the processing that goes along with it,” Crane said.