Celebrates how the power of one group, the 2 million-strong Service Employees Intl. Union, impacted a presidential election through grassroots activism.

Glenn Silber’s inspirational docu, “Labor Day,” celebrates how the power of one group, the 2 million-strong Service Employees Intl. Union, impacted a presidential election through grassroots activism. But with scarcely a year having passed since the longest, most televised campaign in the nation’s history, any pic that demands auds revisit President Obama’s victory so soon — even if from the perspective of revitalized unionism — seems poorly timed, particularly in the absence of historical context. Docu bows Oct. 30 at Gotham’s Quad Cinema.

The filmmakers track the union’s political commitment, from an early forum intended to hold candidates’ feet to the fire on the issue of health care, to the relocation of members to swing states, where they petition door-to-door, to the organization of a Labor Day concert/rally. But the pic, partially financed by the SEIU, skews its emphases, posing problems less of fairness than of unwarranted screen time. For every engrossing rank-and-file story, there are endless self-congratulatory explanations and podium highlights. But, aside from brief mentions of the Haymarket Massacre, the eight-hour workday, the five-day work week and the abolition of child labor, events unfold without a labor backstory.

Labor Day

Production

A Catalyst Media production. Produced by Glenn Silber, Claudia Vianello. Directed by Glenn Silber.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), John Saraf, Max Miller, Jon Ellison, Danny O'Shea, David Brown, Scott Winters, Kyle Gallagher; editor, Phil Raymond, music, Doug Hall. Reviewed on DVD, New York, Oct. 27, 2009. Running time: 76 MIN. With Jonathan Alter, Karen Tumulty, Mos Def, Tom Morello, Steve Earle, Atmosphere, the Pharcyde.
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