Crowds at the barbecue tent operated by International Longshore & Warehouse Union Local 502 at the Labour Day event at Surrey’s Holland Park in 2017. (submitted photo)

Crowds at the barbecue tent operated by International Longshore & Warehouse Union Local 502 at the Labour Day event at Surrey’s Holland Park in 2017. (submitted photo)

Hundreds expected at free Labour Day picnic set to return to Surrey’s Holland Park

Annual event hosted by New Westminster & District Labour Council on Sept. 2

Up to 700 people are expected to attend an annual Labour Day event planned at Surrey’s Holland Park on Monday (Sept. 2).

The family-friendly lunchtime picnic is hosted by New Westminster & District Labour Council (nwdlc.ca), which represents close to 60,000 union members from 100 union locals in 14 Lower Mainland communities.

The event is open to everyone from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the park, located at Old Yale Road and King George Boulevard.

“Union members, families, friends and community members are all invited to mark the day with us,” an event press release notes.

“This is a free event with food, live music and performances, booths, children’s games and activities. We are pleased to welcome the Honourable Harry Bains, Minister of Labour, as our featured speaker this year.”

The Burnaby-based labour council first held the event at Holland Park in 2017, when newly elected Premier John Horgan attended. For years prior to 2017, the annual gathering was held at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby.

“Last year we joined the Vancouver & District Labour Council for their event at the PNE. This year we are pleased to return to Holland Park,” Janet Andrews, Secretary-Treasurer of the labour council, told the Now-Leader in an email.

Andrews added: “The event is co-ordinated by our Community & Social Action Committee and will include booths of our affiliates and community partners, a (barbecue) hosted by ILWU Local 502, live music by Common Ground and performances by Stars of the North drum group and the Left Coast Labour Chorus, kids games and activities, a bouncy castle, cotton candy and an appearance by Bob Brown Bear, mascot of the Vancouver Canadians Baseball team.”

Bains, MLA for Surrey-Newton, will speak to the crowd at the start of the event, at around 11:30 a.m.

The labour council’s press release says that on Sept. 2, “Canada’s unions will celebrate the social and economic achievements of workers, while calling for a Fair Canada for Everyone in the upcoming federal election. Labour Day is a tribute to the contributions working people have made to the strength, economic prosperity and wellbeing of our country.”

Strong progress has been made for B.C. workers over the last two years, Andrews says.

“Increases to the minimum wage, Community Benefit Agreements and legislative updates recognize that workers are the foundation of our economy,” Andrews stated. “The purchasing power and dignity of a good job with decent wages makes our communities stronger, more inclusive and stems the rising tide of inequality.”

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