This year’s 36th Annual Labor Day Picnic was a broadcast rather than an actual Picnic given the realities of the pandemic. The theme for this year’s event was: “Essential Workers Deserve More than Gratitude,” recognized that our government and economy have put our hardest, and often least paid, workers in serious danger throughout the COVID pandemic. Our workplaces were already in crisis, with low wages, understaffing, and outdated equipment hindering workers’ ability to thrive. We deserve better — we demand better.
This year’s event was a joint project pulled off by the combined efforts of the Tompkins County Workers’ Center and the Ithaca Chapter of DSA (Democratic Socialists of America). In particular, David Foote, DSA activist as well as TCWC Member, played a yeoman’s role without which this broadcast would not have been possible.
Every year, a highlight of the event is the awards through which the Workers’ Center recognize the best amongst us. These Awards included the Mother Jones Award; the Joe Hill Award; and the Friend of Labor Award.
MOTHER JONES AWARDS: Named after legendary labor activist, Mother Jones (1837-1930), who once said: “Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living. “Forced to support herself, when her husband and children all died, she became involved in the labor movement and helped to found the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or “Wobblies”), in 1905.]
This year’s Mother Jones Award were given to the Sciencecenter Union which voted unanimously to create a union in their workplace on October 24th, 2019.
JOE HILL AWARDS: Named after legendary labor activist, Joe Hill (1879-1915). Hill was a songwriter, itinerant laborer, and union organizer, Joe Hill became famous around the world after a Utah court convicted Hill of murder. Hill was then executed before the international campaign to exonerate him could play out.
The Joe Hill Award was given to all of the essential workers in Tompkins County as well as to all of the people in Tompkins County who lost their jobs or had hours reduced because of the pandemic.
The Friend of Labor Award
The Friend of Labor Award was given to Cinemapolis Theater and Brett Bossard for their for guaranteeing a Living Wage to all of its workers year round and CONTINUING to pay their workers a Living Wage for all the hours that they WOULD have worked had the pandemic not happened after having closed down.