UTC Takes Part in Local Labor Day Picnic

By Lorena Grajales, News Editor–

The Chattanooga Area Labor Council hosted their second-annual Labor Day celebration event with a picnic, on Sept. 4 at the Tennessee Riverwalk.

The event started at 6:30 p.m. and lasted until 9 p.m. with a food truck available, snacks, a live band, silent auction and the playing of the movie “At the River I Stand,” a film about the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers’ strike.

According to Staff Organizer Austin Sauerbrei, the organizing team prepared and planned for this event for nearly two months. Although they were not able to conduct a Labor Day parade this year because of Covid-19, their purpose was still to offer community engagement.

“Really, we’re hoping folks just have an opportunity to be together in a safe way, and get away from the screen and enjoy each other…ultimately, if we want to have that society where people care for each other, we have to fight for systemic change and we have to fight together,” he said.

To keep within safety and health regulations, mandatory temperature checks were conducted on every attendee, free custom-made face masks were distributed, and marked circles for seating were spaced out six to 10 feet apart on the field.

Several labor unions including CALEB, Concerned Citizens for Justice, Democratic Socialists of America and the Cumberland Center for Justice and Peace showed their solidarity by setting up tents and tables to provide information to Chattanooga locals. These organizations work together to support the democratic voice in the workplace.

UTC’s faculty-staff union, United Campus Workers, also made an appearance to show its unity with the community. Staff and union member Jeremy Strickler shared the union’s reason for attending, and how he encourages students take action.

“We’re here to celebrate Labor Day and all the contributions that workers have made to our country and our community…learn more about the history of labor movement, learn about what they can be doing to join in labor actions and to see how they can show solidarity on their own and also on campus,” he said.

UTC graduate student Jamie Booth explained how beneficial it is to attend events like this, and how others can make a difference. 

“I think getting involved with the community is a really important part of any college student’s life. So, getting out from campus and getting involved in different organizations and clubs and taking advantage of all the free awesome stuff there is in Chattanooga,” she said.

To learn more about how to get involved, or for more information about the Chattanooga Labor Council, visit chattanoogaclc.org

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