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Jeremy Sprinkle
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Giving free union hugs during Carolina Fest

Union members will give out free hugs to the public as part of a “Hug-A-Thug” action during Carolina Fest and hand out “thank you cards” to workers to recognize that, no matter what they do, their work makes America strong. The hugs and the cards are the main attractions at a booth hosted by the North Carolina State AFL-CIO to break down stereotypes of who union members are and to showcase ways that our work connects us all, union member or non-union member.

Who: Union members and Carolina Fest attendees
What: Unions members giving out free hugs to the public and taking photos, handing out “thank you” cards to workers
Where: Carolina Fest, Tryon Street between Trade and Stonewall, Charlotte, NC
When: Labor Day, Monday, September 3, 2012, from 11am to 6pm

The booth will also feature videos about union members active in their communities: hosting food drives, running the Guide Dogs of America program, and union veterans who have come back from Afghanistan and are now rebuilding the World Trade Center. Activists will be taking photos of people hugging “union thugs” and promoting the #HugAThug hashtag, the website, and an interactive online site called

“The ‘Hug-A-Thug’ booth and the educational information provided are part of a broad, long-term initiative by America’s unions to be a voice for all working people – whether your name is on your front pocket or the front office,” said NC State AFL-CIO president James Andrews.

“This initiative is not about legislation, policy or politics – it’s something more fundamental, which is to reach out to all Americans with the message that unions – working people standing up together – share the same values around hard work that drives America forward.”

Speakers announced for Carolina Fest

There will be two stages at Carolina Fest for speeches and performances - the National Stage and the Carolina Stage.

On the National Stage
At 12:00pm, Arlene Holt Baker, Executive Vice President, AFL-CIO

On the Carolina Stage
At 1:00pm, MaryBe McMillan, Secretary-Treasurer, NC State AFL-CIO
At 4:30pm, James Andrews, President, NC State AFL-CIO who will introduce a group of local union members whose work has made Carolina Fest and the DNC possible

Click here for more information about Carolina Fest. See below for a map showing where our AFL-CIO booth will be.

Carolina Fest Map with AFL-CIO booth marked