In Maine: IBEW Local 1837
16 Old Winthrop Road
Manchester, ME 04351
Phone: (207) 623-1030, Fax: (207) 621-8384
In New Hampshire:
680 Central Avenue, Suite 201
Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 743-1652, Fax: (603) 743-1654

2008 Labor's Day Events in Both States Draw Big Crowds



 


 

September 1, 2008 - Once again this year, Labor's Day events in Maine and New Hampshire provided a great opportunity for members of many unions to get together to show their solidarity, learn a little bit more about labor history, listen to some great music, and—in this pivotal election year—enjoy a heaping helping of politics! And, as in previous years, members of IBEW Local 1837 were a part of the action in Manchester, New Hampshire and in Portland, Lewiston, and Brewer, Maine.

The New Hampshire AFL-CIO Breakfast in Manchester drew another large crowd to the St. George Greek Orthodox Church, including ten members of IBEW 1837 and their families. They got to hear a rousing speech from the new Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO, Arlene Holt Baker.

”We know that working families are struggling to make ends meet across the country,” Baker said. “Every day we get closer to seeing our country’s middle class disappear. The story in New Hampshire is, unfortunately, no different.” 

Sister Baker (who also attended the Western Maine Labor Council’s Barbecue later that afternoon) called on union members to take action when she said: “We need and we must turn this economy around. We need to rebuild the middle class by building worker power.” To view her New Hampshire speech on YouTube, click here.

In Maine, The Portland Labor’s Day Breakfast hosted close to 250 union members, labor-friendly politicians, community activists and their friends at Verrillo’s Banquet Center on Riverside Drive. This year’s event was sponsored by the Southern Maine Labor Council, The Western Maine Labor Council, and the Metal Trades Council.

As always, the main theme of the event was a celebration of unions and labor, and Southern Maine Labor Council President Peter Kellman was quick once again to remind the crowd that this holiday was “Labor’s Day.” In addition to the great music of “Nine to Nine,” a folk music group featuring author Phil Hoose and many other talented musicians, documentary photographer Guy Saldanha shared another collection of his outstanding work focused on workers.

The highlight of the morning’s breakfast was the presentation of the “Working Class Hero Award” to Dr. John Radebaugh, a physician who worked side-by-side with legendary United Farm Workers leader Caesar Chavez. An emotional high point of the morning was when Brother Radebaugh picked up his harmonica to play along with “Nine to Nine” on a heartwarming rendition of  “De Colores,” an old favorite of Caesar Chavez.

Rep. Tom Allen delivered the Labor Day Address again this year as he continues his campaign for the United States Senate. Allen, who has been targeted by anti-union television ads, asked for our help in getting out the message that he supports theEmployee Free Choice Act while Sen. Susan Collins does not. Congressional hopeful Chellie Pingree also addressed the gathering while a variety of other state and local legislative candidates shook hands and talked with union members. To view a photo album of the event click here.

Later on Labor’s Day in Lewiston, the IBEW 567 Union Hall was the site of the Second Annual Labor Day Barbecue sponsored by the Western Maine Labor Council. “ It was a great turn out on beautiful day in spite of a long weekend,” said WMLC President Don Berry. “So many people pitched in with cooking and clean-up. It was really something.”

Two large canopy tents helped provide cover from the sun for the overflow crowd. The assembled group of union members, community members and their families was estimated to be more than 200 people—or almost twice the size of the barbecue debut last year. Many of those in attendance were new union members who seemed to have a great time and will hopefully participate in many activities in the future. To view a photo album of the eventclick here.

Even further north in Brewer, Maine, the Labor Day Solidarity Bash went on as scheduled in spite of the last-minute cancellation of two of the bands that were set to play due to family emergencies. Top-notch replacements were found, and the show—and celebration—seemingly went off without a hitch. A dozen or more volunteers from Food AND Medicine helped put together a wonderful buffet dinner inside the center, which is owned by the Eastern Maine Labor Council.

In addition to the other performers, The Working Chorus contributed a rousing rendition of "We Shall Not Be Moved" and two hilarious musical parodies. Keeping any eye on November’s elections, plenty of signatures were collected on petitions in support of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), the proposed federal law that help make it easier for workers to join a union. And looking ahead to what could be an especially tough holiday season for some of our union brothers and sisters, donations were collected for the Solidarity Harvest, Food AND Medicine’s annual Thanksgiving dinner for families of laid-off workers in Eastern Maine.