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Local AFL-CIO Labor Day picnic changes location and date for 2022

president barack obama stands at a podium as the crowd holds signs that read "health care can't wait" from 2009
David Kohl
President Barack Obama speaks at the AFL-CIO Labor Day picnic at Coney Island in Cincinnati on Sept. 7, 2009.

The local AFL-CIO Labor Day picnic is leaving Coney Island.

Instead, the traditional union celebration will be held at Great American Ball Park this year. Local Labor Council Secretary Treasurer Brian Griffin says Coney Island was a great place for the picnic for decades, but there's been changes to make it less appealing.

“They removed some of their soft shelters, and when you have a crowd like that and you know that you’re going to get everything up to and including maybe even snow, we needed to get everybody under cover or they were going to have to make their own choice, and we thought the best way to basically approach it would be to maybe try something completely different," he explains.

Griffin says the picnic has been a Labor Day tradition at Coney Island for decades. “We love our friends at Coney Island, and by absolutely no means is this any aspersions on them. They have a wonderful historic facility,” he says. “Right now the Reds have been more than gracious with us. They have certainly done a great deal to bring resources to being able to get our crowd out.”

Griffin says the picnic will be the day before Labor Day, which also is Riverfest. He says the labor council sees that as a complimentary event, giving members the option of something to do after the game.

“We normally range between, I’d say, 3-5,000 on the low side, to as many as 10,000 or more on the high side depending upon the weather and of course who may be mainlining on the old picnic format where we did have some headliners and usually some powerhouse speakers.”

Previous headliners have included Presidents Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and then-Vice President Joe Biden.

Griffin says U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh and AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler are the featured guests. Shuler will throw out the first pitch before the Reds-Rockies game, Sunday, Sept. 4 at 1:40 p.m.

Griffin says it's too early to tell if the move will be permanent.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.