Happy Labor Day film watching

There aren’t many movies that qualify as appropriate viewing on Labor Day. One that does is Salt of the Earth, the story of a 1950s strike at a zinc mine in New Mexico that features a clash between the company and the mostly Mexican-American miners. It also features early feminist union supporters in action. You can see it on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3VPWmqaOb4. A PNLHA connection: Oregon trustee Ron Verzuh has made a short documentary film called Remembering Salt that is also available on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQdV9B8Zj-c.

PNLHA and Labor Day 2015

Ryan Wisnor and Jim Strassmeier joined by PNLHA secretary Lane Poncy at Portland Labor Day picnic.

Ryan Wisnor and Jim Strassmeier joined by PNLHA secretary Lane Poncy at Portland Labor Day picnic.

PNLHA members attended several Labor Day picnics on September 7, 2015. The biggest gatherings were in Portland and Eugene where hundreds of working people celebrated the holiday.

Trustees Ryan Wisnor and Jim Strassmeier “stirred the embers” at Oaks Amusement Park in Southeast Portland. “We awakened a lot of interest in the May 20-22, 2016, conference, and attention to the website.” One Spanish-speaking picnicker volunteered for our oral history program.

PNLHA secretary Lane Poncy also attended the event sponsored by the Northwest Oregon Labor Council. “We had a selection of old calendars that people were interested in looking at,” she reported, and many wanted to learn more about labor history.

Oregon VP Ron Verzuh pitches PNLHA to the crowd at the Eugene/Springfield Labor Day picnic.

Oregon VP Ron Verzuh pitches PNLHA to the crowd at the Eugene/Springfield Labor Day picnic.

Oregon vice-president Ron Verzuh staffed a PNLHA table at the Eugene/Springfield event sponsored by the Lane County Labor Council. He was also invited to comment on the association during the formal part of the day. The result was a renewed interest in labor history and two new members.

Trustee Mike Sullivan attended a smaller event in Salem and reported success at promotion interest in both the association and the pursuit of labor history.

Thanks to PNLHA president Tom Lux, members received two lists of songs appropriate to Labor Day celebrations.

Happy Labor Day 2014

Did you know that Oregon was the first state to recognize Labor Day?

Some of the about 150 trade unionists and their families did as they celebrated the day at the annual Lane County Central Labor Council picnic.

PNLHA banner with AFL-CIO

All photos by Leola Jewett-Verzuh

The picnic is an opportunity to share Labor Day stories, present three awards for trade union activities and accomplishments, and hear from local politicians.

Mayor Kitty and council members

Mayor Kitty Piercy and council members announce sick leave ordinance

This year Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy and some of her council proudly announced that they had secured sick leave for workers in the Emerald City. A major victory, the new city ordinance, which goes into effect on July 1, 2015, ensures that “everyone working within the Eugene city limits to accrue paid sick time at work.” For more, http://www.eugene-or.gov/sickleave.

Ron hands out pnlha leaflets

Oregon VP Ron Verzuh hands out PNLHA membership leaflets.

PNLHA was at the picnic flying its banner and handing out information leaflets to about 60 people in a collaborative membership drive with the Labor and Working-Class History Association (LAWCHA).

Meanwhile, in Portland, PNLHA trustee Lane Poncy, co-host of the labor show on KBOO radio, noticed a display in her local library celebrating Labor Day. If you have photos of Labor Day events in your area, please send them to rverzuh@shaw.ca.

Bob B talks to woman in wheelchair

Oregon trustee Bob Bussel speaks with one of the picnic crowd.

For more on the day’s history in Canada: Craig Heron, The Workers’ Festival: A History of Labour Day in Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005) and in the U.S. see a critical discussion about the day at http://portside.org/2014-08-29/labor-day-bill-fletcher-maynard-seider.

Lane's library on Labor Day

Library in Portland celebrates Labor Day.

For a graphic look at the other labor day, see Robin Folvik, Mark Leier and Sean Carleton, May Day: A Graphic History of Protest (Toronto: Between the Lines, 2012).






For more on workplace sick leave: http://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/issues/2012/08/pdf/paidsickdays_factsheet.pdf