Shoals celebrates Labor Day with rally and parade

TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – Labor Day is held on the first Monday of September every year to honor the working people in the United States and Canada.

While many people were hitting the lakes across north Alabama Monday morning… hundreds lined Main Street in Tuscumbia for a parade. They came to cheer on family, friends, even a former governor campaigning for his son. All in the name of organized labor.

“Organized labor is enormous in this area, that’s why it is still a strong democratic stronghold in the state," said John Harbin with the Pipefitters and Steamfitters Local 760. "It has provided enormous jobs and great salaries."

For 99 years, the Shoals Area Central Labor Council has held a Labor Day rally in northwest Alabama. It’s the longest continuous celebration of its kind in north America. Organizers say it has grown tremendously over the last few years.  During election season, candidates take full advantage of the massive gathering.

“It gives an opportunity more importantly to one-on-one with the citizens that will be voting," said Tony Quillen with IBEW Local 558. "So they can be there face-to-face, ask those tough questions and get to know their platform.”

In a community built on the backs of laborers over the years, organizers say it’s only right to honor them.

An interesting fact about the Shoals Area Central Labor Council rally; in 1980, then President Jimmy Carter announced his re-election campaign in Tuscumbia. That election was eventually won by President Ronald Reagan.