Port Councils across the country used Labor Day weekend to renew some pre-covid traditions while participating in community projects started by the pandemic.
After a one-year postponement, the Toledo Port Maritime Council kicked off the weekend with its annual dinner on Friday, September 3. Families from at least a half-dozen affiliates enjoyed the food and fellowship while local elected officials saluted the work of the members. MTD Executive Secretary-Treasurer Daniel Duncan thanked the council for its work through the crisis.
On Labor Day itself, Toledo PMC members marched in the city’s annual parade. Decked out in t-shirts proclaiming “True Union Pride,” the participants joined hundreds of others in the parade as thousands along the sidewalks cheered them.
PMC President John Clemmons reported turnout was not as high as in earlier years, but people followed safety protocols in the parade and on the sidewalks. “It felt good to participate again,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Port Maritime Council of Southern California was among the dozens of local unions and councils distributing food and household goods to families in need in Wilmington, CA, on Labor Day.
This was the second straight year that Labor gave up its annual parade (which started in 1970) to provide the drive-through food bank. Union members distributed around 800 carloads of donated food, water, diapers, wipes and other items. In addition 117 people received covid vaccinations thanks to on-site health care volunteers.
“We were proud of how we helped last year,” noted PMC President Larry Barragan. “This year, we had more people involved who wanted to be involved in this Labor of Love.”
The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and the Los Angeles-Long Beach Harbor Labor Coalition were among the event’s sponsors.
Labor Federation President Ron Herrera saluted the many volunteers who were “risking their own health” to help others. Herrera added that the local labor federation and its affiliates have helped around 300,000 families during the pandemic.
Finally, Duncan represented the department at the White House on Wednesday, September 8, for President Biden’s Salute to Labor address. Approximately 50 union members, officers and officials attended, including MTD Executive Board Members Eric Bunn (AFGE), Frank Christensen (IUEC), Eric Dean (IW) and Evelyn DeJesus (AFT). Also participating were MM&P President Don Marcus and MEBA President Adam Vokac.