Labor Day links and events coming up this week

Hope you’ve been enjoying the perfect Iowa weather during this holiday weekend. The U.S. Department of Labor and Blog for Iowa provide background on the history of Labor Day.

Organized labor doesn’t have a lot to celebrate right now, with more job losses in the manufacturing sector and unemployment rising across the country (though Iowa’s unemployment rate is significantly lower than the national average). The Iowa Policy Project finds that “the state of working Iowa” is not good. As in the previous recession, we are losing jobs with good benefits as wages stagnate for the people who still have jobs. We now rank 32nd in terms of median wages, and lower incomes mean less money for consumers to spend at other businesses. Click here for the full report, which also explains that “policy makers could do more to make work pay for low- and moderate-income working families and to insist upon job-quality requirements in economic development strategies.”  

Iowa hasn’t adopted most of organized labor’s key legislative priorities in recent years, in part because of the “six-pack” of Iowa House Democrats that blocked those bills. On the plus side, Curt Hanson’s victory in the House district 90 special election means we haven’t lost any ground on this front. We only need to persuade one or two “six-pack members” (or defeat them in Democratic primaries) to find the 51st vote for “prevailing wage,” for instance.

I haven’t heard much lately about Senator Tom Harkin’s efforts to find a compromise on the Employee Free Choice Act. Getting 60 votes in the Senate for anything meaningful is likely to be quite difficult. The Service Employees International Union has some news related to the EFCA here.

Two years ago I attended the Solidarity Fest Labor Day celebration in Des Moines, featuring John Edwards and Hillary Clinton. The same event, sponsored by the South Central Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, takes place today in the 4-H building at the State Fairgrounds from noon to 2 pm. Later today, the Friends of Iowa Midwives are having a family-friendly potluck picnic at Raccoon River park in West Des Moines (4 to 8 pm, suggested donation $5).

After the jump I’ve posted details for lots of other events coming up this week.

Monday, September 7:

Solidarity Fest is at the State Fairgrounds (4-H building) from noon to 2 pm. Parade starts near the state capitol building at 11 am. You might run into some candidates for the Des Moines City Council or school board.

Friends of Iowa Midwives are hosting a family potluck picnic in Raccoon River Park in West Des Moines. Suggested donation $5. There’s a great playground and beach nearby.

From I’M for Iowa:

September 7 – Time for Lunch Eat-In (Iowa City)

A barbeque to recognize National Day of Action for Healthy School Lunches. It’s at Lower City Park, Shelter #2 at 11:00 am. Contact Kurt Friese at or (319) 321-7935.

September 7 – Time for Lunch Eat-In (Des Moines)

A potluck lunch to recognize National Day of Action for Healthy School Lunches, at Edmunds Elementary School, 1601 Crocker, from 1:00 – 3:00 pm after the Labor Day parade. Bring a chair or blanket to sit on, your own table service and a dish to share (please try to use locally-grown products). Contact Lynn Fallon a or (515) 201-9405.

Tuesday, September 8:

School board elections take place across Iowa. Make your voice heard, whether or not you have children in public schools.

From the Iowa Citizens Action Network:

We will meet at 6:30 am at the United Steelworkers of America office, across from the Des Moines International Airport (their address is: 2017 Southlawn Drive, Des Moines.  They share a building with Chu Hairstyling and Salon) OR you can park at Grey’s Lake – we will provide shuttles to rally at 6:20 am.  You can grab a cup of coffee and donut, pick up your rally signs and join with hundreds of Iowans to fight for health insurance reform while sending Congressman Boswell off to fight for us in Washington!  

To RSVP or get further details, please call or email Jen De Kock at 773.259.4153, or Sue Dinsdale at 515-277-5077 x14

Wednesday, September 9:

From I’M for Iowa:

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Des Moines)

This book series is every Wednesday in September at the Central Library, 1000 Locust Street, from 12:00 noon -; 1:30 pm. The focus is on David Korten’s new book, Agenda for a New Economy, and Korten will join participants live via Skype on October 14th.  Organizers hope the series will spark dialogue and new initiatives around local business, and plant the seeds for a local micro-lending initiative. Contact Marybeth Gardam at

Friday, September 11:

From I’M for Iowa:

September 11 – Iowa Women’s Music Festival (Iowa City)

This is the event’s 16th year, hosted by Prairie Voices Productions at Upper City Park during the day and at The Mill at night. Contact or (319) 335-1486.

September 11 – “Food, Inc.” Movie Premier (Iowa City)

Cost is $5 at the Bijou Theatre in the Iowa Memorial Union at 7:00 pm. Sponsored by Edible Iowa River Valley. Contact Kurt Friese at or (319) 321-7935.

From the Center on Sustainable Communities:

Affordable Green Demonstration Home ‘Framing, Roofs and Attics’

COSC will be hosting the third in a series of workshops Friday, September 11th, “Framing, Roofs and Attics”, in conjunction with the West Des Moines Affordable Green Demonstration Home in Valley Junction.  This is a collaborative effort between The City of West Des Moines, HOME Inc, the Community Colleges of Iowa, and multiple other partners. There will be an on-site workshop at every phase of construction to illustrate affordable sustainable steps that can be taken in new home construction.  Each workshop has a professional version and a shorter consumer version. Visit our website for the tentative schedule and curriculum, and sign up early to reserve your spot!

From the Iowa Environmental Council newsletter:

Natural History Weekend Returns to Lakeside Lab

September 11-13, West Lake Okoboji

Iowa Lakeside Lab and the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History are offering an adult enrichment weekend from September 11-13. Participants will explore the geology, ecology, and archaeology of the Iowa Lakes region via lectures and field trips led by expert naturalists. Housing and meals are available at Lakeside Lab. For more information, go to

Saturday, September 12:

From the Iowa Environmental Council newsletter:

Fen Walking Tour

September 12, Fayette County

Please join us on Saturday, September 12 for a walking tour and interpretation of the unique ecosystem found on the Kauten Fen, also known as “Becky’s Fen.” We will begin the tour at 10 a.m., with a brief program at the Kauten farm, located at 9573 110th Street, followed by a tour of the fen. As in previous years, John Pearson from Iowa DNR has been invited to provide expert insight to how the fen was identified during a study he and Mark Leoschke conducted more than ten years ago. A spring prescribed burn in 2009 may also make way for new “surprises” out in the field. Come see for yourself! For more information on the fen and fens in Iowa: or e-mail for more details about the event.

Fishing Tournament to Benefit Beeds Lake

September 12, Hampton area

Friends of Beeds Lake will be sponsoring a fishing tournament on September 12th, with registration for the event commencing at 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Lakeside Bait House. This is a Carp only tournament to help improve water quality and remove undesirable Carp from Beeds Lake. There is no charge for the registration. Weigh-in will occur between the hours of five and six PM. Anglers will be divided into two groups including twelve and under & adult. Many prizes will be awarded. No carp should be returned to lake. Bring up to the Lakeside bait house for weighing. Please bring your own trash bag for any litter you might accumulate on the lake site. For more information about Beeds Lake, visit http://www.friendsofbeedslake…. and…


From I’M for Iowa:

September 12 – Latinos Unidos Scholarship Fundraiser Dinner (Des Moines)

Grace Methodist Cottage Grove Church, 3700 Cottage Grove Ave, 5:30 to 8:00 pm. Individual tickets are $15 and a full table for eight is $110. RSVP to Lena Robinson at (515) 279-6840 or

September 12 – “Fresh” Movie Premier (Rippey)

Prairie Sky Productions invites you to join them for a neighborly potluck picnic at 5:00 pm with the movie to follow at 6:30 and a Q&A discussion at 8:00. It’s at Chris and Kevin Wilbeck’s farm, 2244 U Avenue, rain or shine. Admission is $10 per adult, and children under 18 are free. The event includes locally-grown main entree and beverage, and you are invited to bring a side dish to share at the potluck. RSVP by September 4th to greenecounty

The I-RENEW’s annual expo takes place this weekend. It’s a fantastic event, which I’ve attended several times in the past:

Going Green: I-Renew’s Energy & Sustainability Expo

Norway, Iowa (September 3, 2009) – – The Iowa Renewable Energy Association (I-Renew) invites you to learn more about what renewable energy can mean to you and your future by attending the 2009 Renewable Energy and Sustainability Expo, September 12-13 in Norway, Iowa.  Expo hours are from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM on Saturday, and 10:30 AM to 5:00 PM on Sunday.

The I-Renew Expo will feature over 60 workshops and speakers that will cover everything from wind, solar and geothermal energy to incorporating green building technologies into new and retro-construction. There will also be information about green job opportunities and ways to identify and implement sustainable foods and lifestyle choices. A demonstration area will feature working solar and wind power displays, and cars that run on alternative fuels. Exhibitors of all types will be on hand to answer questions.

Great food will be provided by local vendors, hands-on children’s activities are planned, and area musicians will entertain attendees. Admission price is $10 per day for adults. Children under 3 are free and kids from 3-12 are $5 per day. I-Renew members are admitted free of charge. Campers can set up on part of the 60-acre site for a nominal fee of $10 per night.

The I-Renew Expo 2009 is being hosted by Frontier Natural Products Co-op, a leading manufacturer of natural and organic products.  Frontier is located 3021 78th Street , Norway , Iowa .  Coming from either direction on Highway 30, turn south on 30th Avenue and then take the first left in Norway on Euclid Rd.

The I-Renew Energy and Sustainability Expo relies on volunteers to help organize and run the Expo. If you can help in any way, sign up on their website or give I-Renew a call. Visit for ongoing updates.

Sunday, September 13:

The I-Renew expo continues in Norway. I highly recommend this event.

From the Iowa Environmental Council newsletter:

Farmscape Peformances

September 13 and in October, Central Iowa

Iowa State English professor Mary Swander’s “Farmscape” play will be performed in Iowa in September and October. The Ames Public Library will host an “Ames Celebrity” performance at 3 p.m., September 13 in Ames City Hall Auditorium, 515 Clark Avenue in Ames. The play also will be performed during the 13th Annual Community Food Security Coalition Conference, which runs October 10-13 in Des Moines. The play documents the changing rural environment and features characters based on student interviews with central Iowans. Swander will lead a discussion after each performance.

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  • Six local labor unions endorse Skip Moore for Des Moines City Council

    Six local labor unions endorse Skip Moore for Des Moines City Council

    Skip Moore, candidate for Des Moines City Council At-Large, is proud to announce the endorsements of six local Des Moines labor unions.

    The following labor groups have endorsed Skip Moore for Des Moines City Council: The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local #347, International Brotherhood of Painters #246, Laborers’ Local #177, Laborers’ Local #353, United Brotherhood of Carpenters Local #106 and the Police Officers for Good Government Political Action Committee.

    “Labor unions are a vital part of our community,” said Moore.  “Unions make our community strong and I am honored and proud to have their support in my campaign.”

  • Skip Moore Meet & Greet at the Northwest Community Center on Wednesday, September 16th

    Skip Moore, candidate for Des Moines City Council At Large, would like to invite you to a meet and greet at the Northwest Community Center on Wednesday, September 16th.

    This is a great opportunity to ask Skip questions, learn about the issues important to the residents of Des Moines and become involved in his campaign for City Council.

    Location: Northwest Community Center, 5110 Franklin Ave., Des Moines

    Date: Wednesday, September 16th

    Time: 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

    Appetizers will be provided.

    Please contact the campaign at 729-2926 if you have any questions, or email us at

  • Municipal Employees Association endorses Skip Moore for Des Moines City Council

    For Immediate Release:

    Municipal Employees Association endorses Skip Moore for Des Moines City Council


    Skip Moore, candidate for Des Moines City Council At-Large, is proud to announce the endorsement of the Municipal Employees Association.

    The Municipal Employees Association voted unanimously to endorse Mr. Moore in the election for the Des Moines City Council At-Large seat at its board and general membership meeting held on Tuesday, September 8th.

    Skip Moore recently received the endorsement of six local labor unions:

    The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local #347, International Brotherhood of Painters #246, Laborers’ Local #177, Laborers’ Local #353, United Brotherhood of Carpenters Local #106 and the Police Officers for Good Government Political Action Committee.

    Please contact Mitch Henry at 729-2926, or email at for additional information.