Pandemic precautions cancel Steelworkers Labour Day picnic

COVID-19 pandemic precautions have forced the cancellation of a longtime Thompson tradition next Monday: the annual Labour Day picnic organized by United Steelworkers Local 6166.

The end-of-summer event, which has ben going on for decades, featured free burgers, hot dogs and soft drinks for all in attendance as well as running or potato sack races for children and youth, along with speeches by the union president and politicians representing Thompson. Depending on the weather, the event can draw hundreds of people, but this Sept. 7, the Steel Centre on Elizabeth Drive will remain quiet.

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“It is with great regret that the USW Local 6166 Labour Day event, held every September long weekend, will be cancelled due to the COVID pandemic,” said USW Local 6166 president Warren Luke in an email to the Thompson Citizen. “It would be extremely difficult to hold the event as we traditionally have and stay within the provincial health guidelines. We take the safety of our membership and the community seriously so we feel it is the best decision for all.”

Union members are being invited to take part in a watch party featuring the movie musical Stand! which was filmed in Winnipeg and is based on the 1919 general strike, one of the most influential North American labour actions of the 20th century.

“It is a wonderful lesson on the struggles the labour movement has had to achieve what they do for all workers,” said Luky.

USW Local 6166 members who want to take part in the watch party are asked to drop by the Steel Centre between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Sept. 4 to pick up packages to participate or to log onto USW6166.com.

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