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Labor concerns at Labor Day picnic

Posted at 6:33 PM, Sep 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-04 21:33:47-04

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Labor Day did not begin as a day to kick back, shop or fire up the grill.

It was created to recognize organized labor's struggles for better pay, working conditions and benefits.

When organized labor organizes a Labor Day picnic like the annual Pima Area Labor Federation picnic at Reid Park,  the food and fun come with a significant side order of politics.

Labor Federation chair Fred Yamashita says Labor Day is a good day to celebrate union efforts to protect workers but he sees labor as under attack by the Trump Administration.

We asked about how the President often says he's creating jobs and keeping them from going to other countries.

"There are some jobs he may have created. There were a lot of jobs that were already being created and there are some jobs he didn't create that he said he was going to.  So what's going to be more important is maybe he leads by example.  Maybe he brings those businesses that he runs that manufacture all of his goods outside of this country back to this country.  That would be a great example."

Tucson City Councilmember Richard Fimbres says union workers need to be on guard against efforts to cut back their benefits.

"We look at the Affordable Care Act.  It's been on the chopping block.  We've heard about retirements.  We've seen what's happening in this state with retirement systems.  What the Legislature has done, and the previous Governor has done about curtailing, that's why the City has been in debt because of the Public Safety Retirement and the changes they made, or tried to make and the lawsuit that occurred that stopped them doing it."

And politics could be even stronger at next year's picnic, just two months before a Congressional election.