For the last three years members of the United Steel Workers(USW) Local Alaska 4959 have sponsored a community picnic to revive the real meaning of the Labor Day Holiday, which as become prominently recognized as the last long weekend of summer. The origins of the holiday traces back to 1880’s and various celebrations among states such as Oregon and New York. Then in 1894 Congress passed an act making the first Monday of September each year a legal holiday and so the national day of parades, picnics and speeches honoring those who worked to carve and create the nation became a tradition. “For the most part it went really well again this year, I wish the weather had cooperated a little bit more, but everybody still had a really good time,” reported USW local #4959 vice president Dustin Every. “Our intention in reviving the Labor Day picnic here in Kenai was to raise awareness and encourage people to buy local and buy American made products that support American labor. We saw that there wasn’t such an event here in the local area so we got together as a local union even though we are based out of Prudhoe Bay and the majority of our members are up there we do have a lot of members on the Peninsula so we chose to have an event here and we chose KCHS this year as the site and we hope it’ll continue with local businesses promoting buying made in the USA products,” added Every.
State Senator Peter Micciche who represents the Peninsula in Juneau addressed the crowd with their umbrellas raised and underscored what has been a major platform of all his campaigns, “It’s not just industry that creates jobs, it’s also the choices that consumers and employers make when they hire Alaskans and buy American made products that creates jobs. It’s very important and we need voters to push elected officials to make sure Alaskan workers are used for Alaskan projects to the full extent of the Alaska Constitution and that comes down to shopping locally as well, each of us doing our best to buy products made in Alaska and in this great country of ours,” said Micciche.
To the next generation of workers Dustin Every advised, “The kids that are getting ready to graduate from high school remember it starts in high school, getting interested in a career and looking into technical schools. Locally here at KPC with there new expansion of the technical career center there are some great opportunities to train right here at home for the jobs that will be coming here and throughout Alaska in the future.”
There were many games as well as the free hot dogs and hamburgers with members of the KCHS Kardinals volunteering to have wet bean bags tossed at there faces.
Other activities included a push-up and weight press contest, flag football, soccer, Frisbee and Bull Don and the Moose Nuggets playing everyone’s favorite tunes.
See Labor, page 2