The Edmonton District Labour Council celebrated Labour Day with a community barbecue and a reminder of why it’s important the first Monday of September continues to receive recognition.
The labour council, or EDLC, was founded in 1906 and is made up of Edmonton and area unions representing all types of workforces and workers. Today, the council represents 55,000 unionized members in the Edmonton area.
The annual barbecue started 32 years ago as a way to help out both unemployed and underemployed workers in the area, said EDLC president Greg Mady.
“The vast majority of (the working class) are feeling the pinch and, you know — we’re your neighbours, your cousins, your aunts, your uncles — and every year we have this barbecue just to come out and say, ‘You know, union members are with you. We’re here, we really work hard to lift everybody up, … (improve) the working conditions for everybody,’” Mady said.
“(Labour Day) is very relevant now if you look at all the issues facing working people these days — I mean, the middle class that existed, that is quickly diminishing. The whole notion that if we cut taxes on the rich that money will trickle down and it will benefit working-class people — we can now see it hasn’t.”
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Hundreds of people came out to the event at Clarke Stadium to celebrate and partake in events like face painting, live music, food and prizes.
“We built these cities,” Mady said. “Nothing would run without us. And if we don’t take the day to acknowledge that and recognize that, then we’re really doing ourselves a disservice.”
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