Labor Groups Throw Holiday Picnic in Anchorage

Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage

In Anchorage, the Labor Day holiday was celebrated with a picnic, put on by the AFL-CIO on the park-strip.

Union members and their families turned out under cloudy skies to share barbeque and give-away hats and trinkets with the public. According to state AFL-CIO President Vince Beltrami, it’s the first time organized labor has staged such an event in Alaska’s largest city.

Among the unions present were some that are not under the AFL-CIO umbrella, like the Independent Pilots’ Association, which represents the pilots that fly for United Parcel Service.

A number of them live in Anchorage.  Over the weekend they were stunned to learn that two of their number died in a plane crash on Friday. Captain Doug Lampe, age 48, and First Officer Matthew Bell, age 38, were killed when their plane crashed  shortly after takeoff from the airport in Dubai.

UPS’s Anchorage pilots tend to be younger and have less seniority than those who live elsewhere in the country.  They are being strongly affected by furloughs the company has instituted to cut costs.  UPS is under pressure from the state and from local governments, as well as Alaska’s congressional delegation, to reconsider the cutbacks.

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