Rochester area labor unions were out in force for the annual Labor Day Parade through downtown. Despite the nation's rise in the overall employment rate, union membership is at its lowest in nearly a century.
The first Monday in September is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of the American worker.
The Central Labor Union held the first Labor Day parade in New York City in 1892. Since then, Labor Day parades have become a national tradition.
According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, union membership dropped by 400,000 in the last year, bringing it to a 97-year-low. Some believe that's because so many manufacturing jobs have been moved overseas.
"If people would be more patriotic and buy American instead of just grabbing something at Walmart, I think we'd be a lot better off. We're like the last holdouts here," said William Blaesi, Irondequoit.
Many of those last holdouts participated in Rochester's annual Labor Day parade. Despite fewer workers belonging to a union today, those that do say unions remain an important part of the American fabric.
"It's like having a good family. You get really good benefits, you get health insurance and that's most important right there in today's age is health insurance," said Eric Consaul, Canandaigua.
The theme of this year's Labor Day parade was "Workers Rights Are Human Rights." Local labor leaders believe immigration reform, recently passed by the United States Senate, will make it possible to improve the lives of millions of workers across the country.
"These are fundamentally human rights. The ability to live a life free of fear with basic labor protections with the right to make the fullest contribution possible to this society which is what workers come to this country to do," said Denise Young, Public Employees Federation.
It also marks the beginning of the school year for children and the approach of fall weather, and for end of season camping, barbecues and concerts.
Rochester resident David Gomez spent time making the most of the last holiday of the summer.
"I worked hard in labor all my life. The holiday is what it is. It's a fun day, we relax, sit back, have some good food, some good laughs, and we just enjoy the holiday," Gomez said.