NEW ORLEANS - In Louisiana, Labor Day is the unofficial kickoff to the fall election season. It is also tradition for candidates to attend the annual AFL-CIO picnic in New Orleans City Park, to court the labor vote.
The union has already endorsed Desiree Charbonnet for mayor.
"When I get to city hall, I'm going to review the wages of all city employees, definitely, absolutely down to the Sewerage and Water Board employees as well," Charbonnet told union members and their guests.
Charbonnet was the only mayoral candidate allowed to speak on stage. Others running for the city's top office made their pitch face to face.
"The endorsement is one thing, but you have to touch and put your hands on people, press the flesh as they like to say," mayoral candidate Tommie Vassel said. "That's what's going to make the difference."
"We're talking to the citizens directly, not to these necessarily, these large groups of sponsored organizations, we're talking directly to voters, because what they want is real competence," mayoral candidate Troy Henry said.
"I think what we see today is people want to work," mayoral candidate Frank Scurlock said." The one thing that I can offer to the city of New Orleans is bringing in industry."
Governor John Bel Edwards also made an appearance, even though he's not up for re-election for another couple of years.
"I am a candidate for re-election in 2019 and I further expect to be re-elected with your help," Edwards said. "God bless you and thank you very much."
Living wage and wage equality were two major campaign issues on the minds of union voters this Labor Day.
"In our unions, we don't discriminate whether you're young, you're old, you're white, you're black, male or female," AFL-CIO New Orleans area President Tiger Hammond said.
"You all make somewhat the same rate of pay." "Firefighters haven't gotten a pay raise," Firefighters Union President Nick Felton said.
"We're losing firefighters. We need that equipment that's been promised year after year." The fall primary will be held October 14.
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