ANDERSON, Calif. - Food, friends, music and fun were just a few of the reasons folks gathered in Anderson River Park in Anderson this Labor Day.
“They have hot dogs and hamburgers and chicken and watermelon eating contests for kids and face painting and a fishing derby,” union member Christine Perry said. “So it's really a family-oriented picnic.”
The event is organized by the Five Counties Central Labor Council and has been bringing together the community for 33 years.
But Labor Council President Shawn Vanderjack says there's so much more to this day than picnics and barbecues.
“You know Labor Day is something we celebrate for the accomplishments of the labor movement the past 100 years,” Vanderjack said. “The 40-hour work week, overtime pay, FMLA.”
He says those things can get taken for granted now, but people actually lost their lives fighting for those rights.
“People's camps were burnt down,” he said. “Women and children were killed. I mean it's not like today where we stand out in front of the buildings with our signs. Back then, we did that, you risked your lives doing it.”
And even though they've been putting on this event for more than 30 years, this year, they're doing something a little different.
“We're trying to raise money for our new disaster relief fund,” Vanderjack said. “Since this Carr Fire happened, we had a lot of members that were displaced.”
It's just one of many ways they try to give back to their members and the local communities.
“This is just kind of something for union members to give back to the community," he said. "We all pitch in on this and then, it's just something to give back."