(this video was shown at breakfast)
Mayor Villaraigosa and statewide leaders joined hundreds of workers at Labor Day breakfast
Over 500 workers, community leaders and elected officials including Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi, State Controller John Chiang and Secretary of State Debra Bowen gathered for the third annual Labor Day Breakfast at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on September 1st. Organized by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, this year’s breakfast was focused on the victories and struggles of Los Angeles workers in 2008 and the historical election season that faces them this November.
“Thus far, 2008 has been a great year for workers in Los Angeles. We’ve banded together to support the historic number of workers who won higher wages through the re-negotiation of their contracts, and 4,000 Security Officers, who won wage increases and health care coverage by joining a union,” said Maria Elena Durazo, Executive Secretary of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO in her Labor Day remarks. “Politically, we’ve also done well. In no small part because of the hard work done by our workers who by volunteering their time to turn-out the vote moved Mark Ridley-Thomas from seven points behind to finish seven points ahead during the June primary. Now we must focus our energy on making November 4th a success by completing what we started and electing Mark Ridley-Thomas to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and Barack Obama to the White House.”
The Los Angeles Labor Movement has made a commitment to not only focus their energy in turning out the vote for Mark Ridley-Thomas, but Senator Barack Obama. In addition to turning out working men and women in LA to vote for Senator Obama, LA labor will do more. LA workers will also be calling union members in battleground states such as Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico to turn out the vote for Senator Obama.
2008 also presented a historic set of challenges for workers in Los Angeles. A record 350,000 workers from actors and nurses to janitors and longshore workers faced contract fights. Many of those contracts have already been settled including those of 8,000 janitors represented by Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1877 and that of 36,000 daytime actors, journalists and comedians represented by the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA). Longshore Workers represented by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) are well on their way to a settlement as well.
“This year we really accomplished a lot,” said John Harriel an electrician represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 11. On several occasions, Harriel testified before the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and the Los Angeles City Council in support of the Construction Careers Project Stabilization Policy. “We were able to work with the community and local government to ensure that we passed a historic policy that will ensure that people like me, who didn’t have the best start in life have access to good middle class construction careers.”
The Construction Careers Project Stabilization policy is a first of its kind and was approved by the Los Angeles City Council back in April. It was created by the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles (CRA/LA), the Los Angeles /Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO and the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE). The policy will require most CRA/LA-funded projects to hire more local and low-income residents from the communities in which the project is being built and provide the workers with good middle class wages and benefits.
The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO is the chartered Central Labor Council (CLC) of the AFL-CIO in Los Angeles County and is the second largest in the country, representing over 350 unions and 845,000 workers. Its mission is to promote a voice for workers through active participation in the political process, to elect pro-union and pro-worker officials, and to advance public policies that support workers and their families. The Federation believes that in educating and mobilizing workers to be politically active we can create good jobs, healthy communities and REBUILD THE LOS ANGELES MIDDLE CLASS. Visit the Federation at www.launionaflcio.org