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Hug A Thug Booth Big Hit in Charlotte


Walking through CarolinaFest in Charlotte, N.C., this past Labor Day, you could buy a funnel cake, ride down a bouncy slide—and hug a union “thug.”

Compliments of the North Carolina State AFL-CIO, the Hug A Thug booth featured teachers, firefighters, nurses—just about everyone who’s a union member and/or thug, depending upon your political perspective. The union movement's "hug a union thug" campaign poked fun at conservative attempts to scapegoat union members.

Jeremy Sprinkle, North Carolina State AFL-CIO communications director, said the hugs are for:

not just Democrats, but anybody in the city.

Booth staffers, who handed out “thank-you” cards to workers in recognition that their work makes America strong, said even people who didn’t stop for a hug couldn’t help but crack a smile. Union members gave out more than 500 hugs, reports North Carolina State AFL-CIO. Members from nine unions gave out hugs including: NALC, CWA, Newspaper Guild, IUE, AFGE, UAW, Teamsters, Operating Engineers and APWU. Sprinkle says:

In the middle of all the craziness - 30,000 people at Carolina Fest with media and security everywhere - I think our Hug 'Thug' booth was really disarming, even a relief, for folks to get those hugs. Hugs were happening before we even asked folks to pose for pictures!

CarolinaFest precedes the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. View more photos from the booth at

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Fire Fighters
Labor Day

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