Hot Dogs---and politics--on a roll at Labor Day picnic
Reporter: Craig Smith
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Monday was Labor Day --a time to honor American workers.
Speaking in Detroit Monday, Vice President Joe Biden told union members the Obama administration has their backs.
It's a sentiment Democratic speakers echoed at Tucson's Labor Day picnic.
For some Americans Labor Day is more than simply a day off. It's a celebration of Labor Unions, their accomplishments and their hopes for the future; and with the Presidential election coming up there is more focus than usual on politics.
Labor Union picnics on Labor Day help workers enjoy a day off, but also fire them up to work for their favorites candidates on election day. That will not include many Republicans. Candidates stepping up to speak were all Democrats.
Senate Candidate Dr. Richard Carmona says: "The important thing we know from unions is we have child labor laws now, okay, because people stood up and said, you know that shouldn't be. And I think it's a balance we're trying to achieve so that the union represents the workers. They make sure they're treated fairly and impartially and they get their votes in, that there's no retribution that the should be able to speak what's on their mind."
But where do unions fit as businesses look to beat competitors with lower wages and a more flexible workforce?
Leon Sierra is with the International Union of Operating Engineers. He says, "The biggest thing a company could do to keep out unions is to treat people fairly. Give them a livable wage and you have a workforce that'll take care of you. The problem is, is that greed just doesn't rest.
And these union workers say they see signs the economy's picking up, in construction and other areas.
Samuel Newsome of the A. Phillip Randolph Institute says, "I see people going back to work. I see people in the restaurants. I see people out shopping. Things are getting better."
Arizona is a right to work state. That means union membership is not required to work at a company that has other union workers.