Posted at: 09/02/2013 7:05 PM
By: Brianna Long
Unions Celebrating Labor Day
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- While many people spent Labor Day enjoying the day off work, some were out celebrating what the holiday is all about.
Camping, barbeques, and family time are all things that come to mind when you think of Labor Day. But Monday in Austin, a group of people came together to celebrate workers, and what the holiday represents.
With a bounce house, snow cones, and pork chops on the grill, Bandshell Park in Austin looked a lot like a carnival Monday. But really it was the UFCW Local 9's annual Labor Day Picnic.
"It's our way to kind of celebrate the end of summer and to celebrate camaraderie with all our union brothers and sisters," said Richard Morgan, the president of Local 9.
The union represents a number of workers from area businesses, including Hormel, and Quality Pork Processors. In fact, just this summer, the union contract with QPP was ratified. The new, 4-year agreement includes a free clinic for employees.
"That clinic would be there for them at no cost to be seen and medical treatment provided for them. Ant that also includes prescriptions if need be," said Daniel Bartel, with UFCW.
It's part of the reason, union officials say, that unions exist in the first place.
"There wouldn't be a weekend if it wasn't for the unions, there wouldn't be many holidays that we enjoy. The unions have ushered in a lot of things we take for granted," said Bartel.
Unions have been in the spotlight over the past year. Both in Minnesota with a push to unionize childcare and nationwide with fast food workers looking to organize as well.
"Any time you can get a group of people to work together, for the same purpose, that's a good thing. Any time that you can get people to unite, that's what unionism is all about," said Morgan.
That's exactly what was being celebrated Monday, among the raffle drawings, and face paintings, at this year's picnic.
"It's the best day ever, it really is. And our workers have fun," said Morgan.
Union officials say that the QPP contract ratification was part of negotiations that took part over the summer. The hope is that the free clinic will bring a healthier workforce for QPP.