By Samantha Pidde
Herald Staff Writer
---- — CLINTON — Eagle Point Lodge was filled with noise and laughter Sunday as volunteers and public officials served hot dogs and baked beans to members of the community at the Clinton Labor Congress' annual Labor Day picnic.
Clinton Labor Congress President Dave Keefer said this year's picnic saw a definite increase from last year's event. Not long after the picnic started at noon, he noted it was already a "packed house."
"It continues to grow every year," Keefer said.
The Clinton Labor Congress represents approximately 3,000 union and family members in Clinton and Whiteside counties. Keefer said the labor movement has been growing recently and members are becoming more aware.
"Their eyes have been more open about the labor movement since they have been in the 60s," Keefer said.
Many regulars returned to the picnic this year. Bruce Stremlow, from the local steelworkers' union, attended the picnic in support. He brought his family, including his 3-year-old grandson, Maddox Murdock, with him.
Murdock and other children crowded behind the lodge, playing games for prizes and getting balloon animals and hats. Local clowns entertained the children.
Though not a member of a union, Jim Vogel also attends each year to support both the unions and the Democratic party. Bill Tieso, of Clinton, comes to the picnic each year to enjoy the food and talk to people.
"I usually like to hear what the candidates have to say," Teiso said.
Keefer added that the event is a good place for people to chat with legislators and other public officials in a relaxed environment. A variety of representatives were at the picnic, including Clinton Councilwomen Jennifer Graf and Bev Hermann, Supervisor John Staszewski, State Representative Mary Wolfe and others.
Congressman Dave Loebsack attended for the third year in a row. He is attending three more Iowa events today.
"It's very, very important to show support of the working men in Clinton, the working men and women in Iowa and in the nation," Loebsack said. "Workers need support and that's why I'm here today."