Celebrating strong unions at 22nd Labor Day picnic

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Lane County's labor unions teamed up for the 22nd Labor Day picnic Monday afternoon at Lively park in Springfield.

The annual picnic celebrates the labor movement with lots of barbecued food and speeches from labor representatives. 

While the recent recession has hurt union numbers nationally Oregon remained strong in labor representation. Bob Baldwin, president of the Lane County Labor Council said that Oregon has the sixth highest number of workers belonging to a union.

Oregon historically has been at the high water mark for organized labor and that goes back to the wood products union movement, before the local timber economy took its hit." Baldwin said.

Union workers account for about 17% of the Oregon workforce, while nationally the average is about 12% of the working population.

Baldwin said that most of the Lane County union gains have come from public sector jobs - not private businesses.