Hillary Clinton is set to headline a Northwest Illinois Labor Day picnic on Sept. 5 honoring International President Lonnie R. Stephenson and United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams, both of whom started their careers in the Quad Cities area.
The 49th annual Rock Island County Salute to Labor picnic in Hampton, Ill., is one of the largest Labor Day gatherings in the Midwest, and brings thousands of union members and labor allies together along with dozens of elected officials, party leaders and activists.
The Clinton campaign announced that the Democratic nominee would attend the event for the second straight year and that her remarks would focus on her “plans to build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top.” She is also expected to celebrate the contributions of American workers and organized labor.
“It’s an honor to have Secretary Clinton here in our backyard,” said Rock Island, Ill., Local 145 Business Manager Scott Verschoore. “And it’s especially nice to have her here on a day when this community is celebrating our very own International President, Lonnie Stephenson.”
Verschoore noted that the Labor Day event will be Stephenson’s first big public appearance in the Quad Cities area since he became the IBEW’s International President last June.
“I’m looking forward to being back in my hometown among friends and family this Labor Day,” Stephenson said. “And to be honored at this important event alongside Dennis Williams and Hillary Clinton makes it even better. I’m so grateful for this community and their support over the years. This means a lot to me.”
Before the picnic, Stephenson will walk with community leaders in the Quad City Federation of Labor’s 33rd annual Labor Day parade in neighboring East Moline.
At the picnic, Stephenson, Clinton and Williams are expected to be joined by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and IBEW-supported Illinois U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Tammy Duckworth. Other speakers will include Rep. Cheri Bustos, Rep. Dave Loebsack and many more state and local elected officials from Illinois and Iowa.
“We are proud to have Secretary Clinton back in the Quad Cities,” Rock Island County Democrats Chairman Doug House said. “She is a champion of organized labor and she understands what is at stake in this election – that our country is stronger together and that means fighting for the middle class.”
The IBEW endorsed Clinton’s presidential run in June. “A vote for Clinton is a vote for a candidate who has stood by unions in the past and sees us as partners in the future,” Stephenson and International Secretary-Treasurer Salvatore J. Chilia wrote in an Electrical Worker editorial.
They noted Clinton’s support for worker-friendly judges and regulators, her commitment to massive infrastructure investments and her support for collective bargaining rights and strengthening unions. And Stephenson and Chilia pointed to her opponent Donald Trump’s published list of potential Supreme Court nominees as an imminent threat to unions and working people. “A vote for Trump is a vote to put a union-buster on the Supreme Court — simple as that,” they wrote.