By Sheri Williams
Hundreds of union members turned out for the largest Labor Day Picnic since the pandemic, filling Fairytale Town with families, fun and union energy.
“This is hot Labor summer,” Sacramento Central Labor Council executive director Fabrizio Sasso told the crowd. “We’ve had lots of strikes, lots of actions. You know, you’ve got Amazon workers going on strike and Starbucks workers, you have SAG-AFTRA, the Writers Guild, they’re all going on strike. This is an important year for workers because we’re taking power back.”
Across California and the nation, Sasso pointed out, union organizing has taken on new energy this year. And though media has labeled much of that around a summer of strikes and actions, Sasso said it is energy that is unlikely to end anytime soon. Hot Labor summer is quickly turning to hot Labor fall.
“Everyday workers are seeing past the lies of the corporate agenda. And they’re flocking to unions, they want to join unions,” he said to applause. “And in fact, last year, unions won 76% of their elections at the National Labor Relations Board. Elections, that’s the highest rate ever. And unions are more popular with the public now than any time since the 1960s. So this is our time.”
Sasso said that corporate interests continue to erode the American Dream with stagnating wages and poor working conditions.
“And unless we do something about it, they will succeed in their plan of taking over everything, everything,” he said.
Sasso also spoke about the SCLC’s effort to address the intertwined problems of housing and homelessness in the region. The Central Labor Council has put forth a series of guiding principles on the two issues and is working towards a platform of solutions to address a crisis that affects union workers and all Sacramento residents.
“We had to find our way as a labor movement to figure out how we address this problem and we came up with some guiding principles,” he said. “And we’re going to be doing a lot of work around making sure that people can afford homes, to stay in their homes and not be evicted.”
While Sasso rallied the crowd around important issues, the event was also about fun. Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg jumped into the dunking booth after the speeches, hitting the water after a young constituent hit the target.