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Brown won't attend Labor Day picnic

The labor community is irked after some Democrats voted in favor of a slate of reforms to the state's pension system.

COURTESY GOVERNOR'S OFFICE - Gov. Kate BrownMonday's Labor Day picnic at Oaks Park will be missing one notable guest: Gov. Kate Brown.

News broke in early August — reported by the Northwest Labor Press and subsequently, Willamette Week — that the Northwest Labor Council wouldn't allow Brown and other top Democrats, including House Speaker Tina Kotek, to appear and give speeches on stage at the event.

The labor community is irked after some Democrats voted in favor of a slate of reforms to the state's pension system, including cuts to benefits.

Some delegates to the labor council had advocated for not inviting Democrats who supported the bill to the event at all, the Northwest Labor Press reported. But that didn't have enough support and the council passed a motion just to not invite them to speak at the event.

And now, it turns out, Brown won't be attending the Labor Day picnic at all — she'll be out of the state that day.

During a press call with the governor on Thursday, OPB's Jeff Mapes followed up, asking whether Brown would attend.

"I love being at the Labor Day picnic," Brown said, "I love talking to my friends in the labor community. Unfortunately, I am out of town. Out of state."

Mapes asked whether this year's PERS reform bill could lead to a split between Democrats and organized labor, which often bankrolls liberal candidates and ballot measures. It has already led to a legal challenge from a coalition of labor groups.

"Look, I have worked closely and been a strong advocate for working families my entire career and will continue to do so," Brown said.