Labor Day 2011 returned to its roots on the Kenai Peninsula as a day to honor the American worker and the products they produce. An old fashioned community picnic with fun and games and free food for all who zipped up their windbreakers and headed up the hill to Skyview Highschool. "It was our turn to give back to the community where many of us live, even though many of us work on the North Slope, and we couldn't have done it without the help of Skyview faculty and students who helped set up the tents and man the games," said Peter McKay, one of the organizing team from the United Steel Workers Union (USW) Local Alaska 4959. According to McKay over 1,800 door prize tickets, one per person through the gate, were given out for the $5,000 worth of American Made products that were given away.
"We want to wake people up one at a time to how important it is to have industry here in the United States. Industry builds community, families, and provides a good working wage and we want to get that message out as we celebrate Labor Day," said USW 5949 member and event organizer. Along with free door prize tickets everyone attending was offered a "Keep It Made in America!" promotional button. "It was a wonderful event, the wind blew the white socks away and the rain stayed away so it was great," added McKay. "Made in the U.S.A. is real important to us and our children's future. Keeping American industry here and American workers employed is our message. We're lucky we have great jobs on the North Slope, but if industry leaves so do the jobs," he said.
The Labor Day Picnic theme was a familiar one to Soldotna Mayor Peter Micciche who was on had flipping burgers along with other volunteers. Micciche a supporter of shop local programs said, "Where would our great nation be without the workers of America. The reason we succeed is our work force and I'm reminded of that everyday in Soldotna where I can't imagine where we would be without our competent and dedicated workers. When we buy from countries that don't pay their workers a fair wage or treat them well we are competing with American workers that do, so buying products made in America as close to home as possible keeps us competitive and multiplies our dollars in our own economy and we are thrilled to celebrate the American worker today and tip our hats to the USW for bringing this event to Soldotna."
Other organizers of the 1st Annual USW event included Glen Trimmer, Sue Bacianno, Fritz Guenther, and Loren Hollers, "We not only support resource development in Alaska, but we need to create insensitive for value added product production here in Alaska from our natural resources which produce more jobs and builds the Alaskan and American economy from our natural resources," stated Hollers. Sponsors who contributed to the American Made door prize give-a-way included Sweeney's Clothing, Soldotna Trustworthy Hardware & Fishing, Busy Beaver Log Furniture, Beemun's Variety, and Wilderness Way.