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In my workplace, Labor Day has traditionally marked the last day of summer and the first day of arguing about who has to work on Thanksgiving and Christmas. It has been a very welcome paid holiday, but I can't remember anyone ever talking about how they planned to honor and celebrate the accomplishments of the working person and the victories of Labor.

Then, last year, 2001, some of us discovered the Labor Day Picnic in William Land Park, sponsored by the Central Labor Council of Sacramento. It proved to be a relaxing occasion for union members and their friends and families to picnic and meet people from other unions. We celebrated the people who have made the union "work" and were introduced to politicians who let us know of their labor-friendly accomplishments and goals. All this, plus food, prizes and entertainment for the kids--What better way to celebrate Labor Day!

  Relaxing under the welcoming banner of Labor. We have come to the right place!



Actually, the Labor Day celebration started earlier, at Loaves and Fishes, where the Central Labor Council provided two (three?) shifts of volunteers to assist in meal preparation for the homeless guests of Loaves and Fishes.

There are many reasons for homelessness, but one is lack of "living wage" jobs. The Central Labor Council supports the Living Wage campaign in Sacramento, which calls on the city of Sacramento to develop a policy requiring companies getting City contracts to pay their workers a living wage. In Sacramento, a living wage is $10/hour with health benefits or $12/hour without. (Based on HUD stats for housing costs and U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services poverty guidelines).


  Also at Loaves and Fishes was Sharon Davis, wife of Governor Gray Davis, shown here shaking hands with Jim Hard, director of the Civil Service Division of SEIU Local 1000 (state workers' union).


  Tom Larson and his godson in the Loaves and Fishes dining room. The tradition of Labor Union volunteers in the community will continue!


  When you walk into the Loaves and Fishes dining room, you are given an apron and then you look for a way to help. Cutting butter into 1" squares looks easy enough, but as with so many things, there is an art to it. Cold butter tends to chip when you cut it, and of course, slicing it the short way and then into 4 squares makes more sense then doing it the long way (potentially a short cut but increasing the likelihood of "chipping"). This is a fact Jim Hard grasped instantly, which is why he has many neatly sliced squares on his tray and I do not.


  Union volunteers and Sharon Davis in the serving line at Loaves and Fishes.


  Cathy Hackett,(deputy director for finance, Civil Service Division of SEIU Local 1000), Sharon Davis, and Jim Hard in the kitchen at Loaves and Fishes. Former President Harry Truman said "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!" Hackett and Hard have taken a lot of heat over the years for their successful efforts to bring CSEA (CA State Employees Assoc.) into the union community, but they continue to cook!
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