From campuses to traditional union shops, Labor Day award winners run the gamut

September 7, 2015 by Mark H. Anbinder

After everyone had enjoyed a picnic of burgers, hot dogs, and an impressive array of side dishes contributed by community members, today's 32nd annual Labor Day Picnic at Stewart Park turned to award presentations.

Representatives from the Ithaca Health Alliance bargaining unit accept their Mother Jones Award. 14850 Photo by Mark H. Anbinder.Representatives from the Ithaca Health Alliance bargaining unit accept their Mother Jones Award. 14850 Photo by Mark H. Anbinder.The theme of the event, co-hosted by the Midstate Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and the Tompkins County Workers' Center, was "Organizing for Respect," and respect for the Ithaca area's labor community was the common thread through today's speakers and awards.

"The Mother Jones and Joe Hill awards are presented to people for their activism, organizing, and sacrifice at work," say organizers. Groups at Ithaca College, Cornell University, and Tompkins Cortland Community College made huge strides in recent months to organize, and the Ithaca College Adjunct Professors, Cornell Grad Students Union, and Tompkins-Cortland Community College Adjunct Association groups earned three of the four Mother Jones awards, named for Mary Harris "Mother" Jones, a labor advocate who organized mine workers at the turn of the 20th century. The fourth went to the Ithaca Health Alliance Bargaining Unit.

This year's Joe Hill award, named for an immigrant songwriter and labor activist, went to Ungkana Charoenkajonchai, Ken Kajonchai, Stephen Wagner, Tom Joyce, Carlos Gutierrez, and Cayuga Medical Center Nurses.

The Friend of Labor Award, presented to a member of the community who has spoken out publicly or taken action in support of working people, went to the Coalition for Sustainable Economic Development, and the Goat of Labor Award, given to "an especially egregious offender of workers’ rights and/or the value of labor to our common good," was presented to Tompkins Cortland Community College.

Also presented was a Volunteer Award, the "Grillmaster of Justice Award," given to Eric Lovett for his intrepid and dedicated grilling efforts for today's event.

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The 32nd annual Labor Day Picnic at Ithaca's Stewart Park, hosted by the Midstate Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and the Tompkins County Workers' Center.

Posted by 14850.com on Monday, September 7, 2015

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