Solidarity Picnic Photo Album!
Yesterday, labor leaders of all stripes, and the middle class who loves them joined together in solidarity on the Park Strip in downtown Anchorage. It couldn’t have been a nicer day – sunshine, gentle breeze, none of that wet stuff falling from the sky.
Hundreds of people and their families were there. Candidates, and elected officials milled about – all there to show their support for the middle class. Alaska has the second-highest union density of any state (New York is first), so Alaskans understand the importance of organized labor and how it improves the quality of life for all of us.
It was hard to miss the giant tents. Contrary to what it looks like, there was no jousting at the event.
~Emcees Vince Beltrami, President of the Alaska AFL-CIO and our very own Shannyn Moore
There was a wide representation at the picnic.
Two of our favorite legislators in one frame – Rep. Les (is More) Gara in whose district the event was held, and The Best Bill in Juneau, Senator Bill Wielechowski. (Will-a-COW-Ski)
And here’s Wielechowski talking to keynote speaker Dave Cieslewicz (Chez-LEV-itch). It’s a good thing they’ll never run for office on the same ticket. Wielechowski/Cieslewicz 2012! I think that might be an uphill battle for the PR department, and a double-wide yard sign.
All the while, we enjoyed the upbeat music of Zydecoho.
The crowd was also appreciative that the humans brought Hazel (L) and Angus (R) to the park. This is a rare moment when they weren’t swamped by adoring fans.
Shannyn Moore, Dave Cieslewicz, and Vince Beltrami – a hattrick for labor!
And what would a picnic be without a raffle? And what would a raffle be without an enormous teddy bear? And what would an enormous teddy bear be without a beaming winner who thinks it’s the greatest thing ever?
Mayor Dave and Senator Mark Begich who has been an unwavering friend to labor. The desire to swap our current “Mayor Dan” for Madison’s former “Mayor Dave” is overwhelming. We can understand with a last name like Cieslewicz, how “Mayor Dave” sprang up. But unless our current mayor thinks “Sullivan” is too challenging for the average Anchorage resident, his self-imposed nickname makes no sense. Much like the rest of what he does.
The second speaker was Wisconsin State Senator Lena Taylor, who delivered a rousing speech, getting the crowd fired up to participate in the upcoming election.
Those on the East side would do well to work hard for Pete Petersen, who has not only been working hard for the middle class, but he’s been on the forefront of the gasoline price gouging issue. Unlike Republicans, he’s actually against it.
Rep. Lindsay Holmes. Nuff said.
All sorts of candidates were out, even some Republicans. Even ones that thing it all went to Hell in a handbasket when women were allowed to work outside the home. (I wish I was kidding) The firefighters peruse the literature with bemusement.
Then I got some accidental awesomeness at the UNITE HERE Local 878 booth. They have plenty of overt awesomeness, since they are the hotel workers who are currently undergoing all kinds of problems from a giant Texas corporation that thinks working Alaskans shouldn’t get their rights under the law. And they’ve been fighting back hard, with success. BUT, they also provided me with a wonderful series of shots that I didn’t even see until I got home. Way in the background of another quick burst of pictures, I discovered this lovely sequence of events, which I cropped and enlarged for your enjoyment.
The kiss returned.
Now that your defenses are all down and you’re feeling gooey and susceptible to suggestion, remember this. If you are a member of a union household, or if you are a member of the 99%, you would do well to see whom labor unions endorse in the upcoming election cycle.
There is no doubt that this election will be critical for the working class of Alaska. What has happened in Wisconsin could happen here. And with unlimited money about to be poured into the state by those who have it, and against those who won’t play ball with moneyed interests because they’re too busy playing ball with YOU, union endorsements can be your decoder for those who are on your team. So, pay attention and get ready to back your candidates with boots on the ground. Campaigns are right now taking names of volunteers who will do anything from phone banking, to dropping flyers at doors, to canvassing, to data entry, to pounding in yard signs.
Get engaged, Alaska. This is going to be a fight.