AFL-CIO Has 'Hug a Union Thug' Booth at DNC

The Hill is reporting that the North Carolina AFL-CIO has a "Hug a Union Thug" booth at Monday's Carolina Fest celebration, one of the final "pre-convention" events at the DNC.

In Charlotte, people will be asked to “hug a union thug” at a CarolinaFest booth sponsored by the North Carolina State AFL-CIO the day before the Democratic National Convention officially begins. Also in honor of Monday, videos are being posted online thanking workers, while actors and athletes will use Twitter to express support for union rights. . .

MaryBe McMillan, secretary-treasurer for the North Carolina State AFL-CIO, said the state labor federation wanted to break down stereotypes regarding union members by dishing out the hugs.

“We see this as an opportunity to dispel that stereotype that union members are mean, scary and violent. What better way to disarm folks than to hug them?” McMillan said. “Union members take care of you in the hospital, deliver your packages and sit next you in church. We are just average folks.”

McMillan hopes the hugs will help draw people into the federation’s booth, which will show videos of union members running the Guide Dogs of America program, rebuilding the Word Trade Center and so on. Further, expect to see photos of people embracing union members at unionhugs.com.

“This will help draw people into our exhibit space and we will be able to show them how unions help build the middle class and why they should support the right to organize,” McMillan said.

The cuddle campaign will be only one aspect of labor’s effort to highlight union members’ and other workers’ good deeds.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which split from the AFL-CIO in 2005, is not participating in the "Hug a Union Thug" project.



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