The AFL-CIO turns to television today with a subtle, simple nationally televised ad focusing on its economic heroes.
The Labor Day ad shows teachers, steelworkers, firemen and cooks - describing them as "the backbone of our country," and "the people we rely on every day."
The message will air during Major League Baseball games, NASCAR's Pep Boys Auto 500 and NCAA football games.
The hope, said South Carolina union officials, is that people who see the ads will realize what they can do collectively in the work place.
"The message is about having jobs, about having a safe workplace, about having benefits at the end of your working life, about having a voice in the workplace," said state AFL-CIO president Donna Dewitt.
The ad also comes on a day that historically has ties to labor, but traditionally has come to mark the end of summer.
"This is a worker's day," said Bill Wise, president of the Catawba Central Labor Council which represents labor unions in York County and the surrounding region. "Labor unions drove that. It's important workers understand that."
Unions in the region will mark the day with an 11 a.m. parade in downtown Charlotte.
South Carolina and North Carolina historically have one of the lowest rates of union workers in the country. About 5.4 percent of the South Carolina work force belongs to a union, while the rate is 4.4 percent in North Carolina.
Both states are "right-to-work" states, meaning employees do not have to join a union as a condition of employment.
Today's celebrations come at a time when "working people are looking for economic heroes - champions who will put themselves on the line to create a better future for our children," AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka said in his blog.
It also comes at a time when economic indicators are predicting more tough times for job seekers.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, 7.6 million jobs have been lost since the start of the recession - 2.1 million of those in the manufacturing sector. About 15 million Americans are unemployed and almost half of them have been out of work for six months - 22 percent for more than a year.
The national unemployment rate is 9.6 percent. South Carolina's rate is 10.8 percent.
Chester, Lancaster and York are among the counties with the highest unemployment rates - 17.9 percent in Chester, 16.1 percent in Lancaster and 15.7 percent in York.