|Participants in the AFL/CIO Grace Carroll Rocky Mountain Labor School meet together after a session for some refreshments. Some of the attendees say the food is so good they have nicknamed the seminar "the 10 pound school."|
The parking lots at the College of Eastern Utah are full of cars with out of state plates this week, but it isn't because tradtional students have come from all over to go to school there for the summer.
Instead the drivers and the riders are students of labor, AFL/CIO style.
"We love coming to Price to hold this school," said Ed Mayne who as director of the AFL/CIO in Utah and a State Senator in the legislature as well, gets to travel to many places. "This is the third time we have held this school at CEU. We came here in 1990, 1997 and this year. We rotate it among the eight western states, and this is one of our favorite venues."
This year those states, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico, sent 170 people to the school that began with a banquet on Saturday night and ends this Thursday with a graduation ceremony.
"We actually had bids from Utah State, the University of Utah, and Weber State as well as CEU to hold the school on those campus'," Mayne said. "But we chose this wonderful place once again."
Mayne said that one of the reasons they chose the area was because they also wanted to support the miners that have been on strike at the Co-op Mine at the time they made the decision.
"We actually had the miners come to the banquet so we could give them encouragement," explained Mayne.
The training at the five day school is intense with venues ranging from labor law to grievance and arbitration to collective bargaining.
"We have always been treated so well here," says Mayne. "Things are central here. We particularly like the food and the way food service takes care of us."
George "Jeep" Gillialand agrees with Mayne. The president emeritus of the New Mexico Federation of Labor says the that attendees have a new name for the school after coming to CEU.
"Everyone's been calling it the 10 pound school," he said as he sat on a wall by the Aaron Jones Dormitory enjoying the morning air.
The workshops and camps that are held at CEU each year bring a lot of money to the community. Not only do the workshops provide supplement summer income for the college, which translates to jobs on campus, but many of those that come to the area for the events, particularly the adult venues, bring people who spend money all around the town.
"I went down to K-Mart the other night to buy a pillow, and I think a lot of people at this event forgot to bring theirs with them because the store had so few left," quipped Mayne when asked about the impact of workshops to the local economy. "With this many people in town, they spend a lot of money at places other than right here on campus."
Next year the training sessions will head to the next state in line, but it can be expected they will be back here in Carbon County in another eight years.