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      Hundreds turn out for Labor Day parade in Ishpeming

      On Monday, hundreds of people walked along the streets of Ishpeming to celebrate the 24th Annual Labor Day Festival. This year's theme was "Labor: Still Standing Strong" and the city of Ishpeming is no stranger to hardworking individuals.

      Many of the faces in Monday's parade have family history that is preserved inside the Cliffs Shaft Mine Museum.

      "We have pictures of all of the different miners who worked in the Marquette Iron Range. This one came from the Republic Iron Mine in the 1880s and then you go all the way up here and this is from the Cliffs Shaft Mine in the 1960s and right there is my father," said Joyce Smith.

      Joyce Smith gives tours of this mine. At one time the mine employed over 600 laborers.

      "We highlight all of the workers that worked in this mine. It opened in 1868 and it closed in 1967," Smith said.

      In 1895, miners formed an independent union called Miners of Marquette County. They went on strike in 1895 demanding higher wages and better working conditions. The strike did not last long because the mining companies refused to recognize the union, but that lack of recognition is not the case today.

      The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2012 the total number of union members was 14.4 million. Some of those members were represented in Ishpeming's parade.

      "I think unions will always have strength because union workers know how important it is to have a voice in the workplace through everyday workplace issues and safety issues, not just wages and benefits," said Kathy Carlson, Marquette County Labor Council Member.