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Billings unions celebrate with Labor Day picnic at Rose Park – Brospar Daily News

Labor Day brings a tradition to Billings where all the unions get together for an annual picnic.

For the past two years they’ve been missing out, but this year they say brotherhood, sisterhood and bonding are stronger.

Workers from about 15 Billings unions gathered in Rose Park on Monday.

Union leaders say it’s a tradition that dates back to the early 1900s.

“Our union has been here for over 100 years,” said Austin Rogers, president of the Central Labor Council. “You know, Billings has had unions since 1906, especially my local union 532.”

COVID has forced the cancellation of picnics in 2020 and 2021.

In the past, picnics brought together about 2,000 people. This year it is estimated at around 1,000.

“With COVID, we’ve held it back, it’s a bit difficult to get it back,” Rogers said. “But it’s really good. It was fun to be in solidarity with our brothers and sisters.

It is said that a picnic can be a special time for workers.

“We come here every year with our grandfather,” says George Forstner, an apprentice with the carpenters’ union. “He’s been on the railroad for a long time and was a member of a union. So we’re just here to support him.

“For the most part, we just had a great summer together and celebrated Labor Day,” Billngs Fire Chief Alan Lohof said.

“Having someone in your corner and knowing that people are there to support you when you’re working there is a big part of what we’re going to do,” Rogers said. “That’s one of the huge benefits of joining a union.

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