THE UNITED FIGHT: All union organizations come together over the Labor Day holiday to voice their support President Obama’s healthcare plan and the employment Free Choice Act.Â
The Fruits of Labor Day
President Obama’s healthcare plan, Employee Free Choice Act, Massive Solidarity March and $1.7 billion MTA project promises massive infusion of activity into local labor force.
By Kenneth Miller
Sentinel Managing Editor
Yussuf J. Simmonds
Sentinel Assistant Managing Editor
Continuing the fight for passage of President Obama’s healthcare plan, implementing the Employee Free Choice Act, a huge solidarity march in Wilmington and a new $1.7 billion MTA project are at the height of the Sept. 7 Labor Day agenda.
The powerful AFL-CIO labor union with an estimated 800,000 members has planed a huge 30th anniversary rally at Banning Park in Wilmington beginning with an assembly on Monday 7, at 9 a.m.
With the health care debate front and center of a national crisis and thousands of more jobs vanishing in an eroding economy with no apparent end in site, union leaders are taking the traditional holiday to fight back for jobs, services and programs.
“Right now with the down turn in the economy, we run programs for people who are displaced from jobs to pay for their utility bills,” said Steven Neal, director of AFL-CIO community services.
Neal, 49, says the last year has been especially brutal not just for low wage earners, but for individuals who have been on there jobs for decades.
“We are seeing some of the high end workers. People who have been on their jobs for 30-40 years,” he explained.
The event at Banning Park, which will begin with members marching at 11 a.m., is themed: “We Are The Economy” and Neal stated that his organization is fighting for working people who may have jobs, but are not receiving a pension plan and other benefits.
“My job allows for me to help pay for my children college tuition and other everyday workers should be afforded the same,” he added.
Elected officials are not allowed to participate, but speakers such as Maria Elena Durazo who heads the L.A. County Federation of Labor is scheduled to be a keynote speaker.
More than 3,000 are expected to attend and the event will be held on Broad and E Street in Wilmington. Music and shuttle buses will also be available as well as hot dogs and refreshments.
Neal says the goal of the rally is to highlight the contributions of labor to the American culture. For more information contact (562) 595-1891.
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The Crenshaw Light Rail Project is destined to energize the L.A. labor force like no other in recent memory while celebrating the Labor Day holiday – usually the first Monday in September. It also signals the closing days of summer.
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas gathered representatives from the local media on August 27, and gave a briefing about the Crenshaw Transit Corridor; it served as a tribute to labor.
According to the Supervisor, one of the main thrusts of the meeting was to get the community involved in the decision making process and thereby generate a sense of trust and transparency towards the project. “This is the essence of the Democratic process,” Ridley-Thomas said, “A competitive process for the dollars.”
The project also promised to employ a large pool of men and women from L.A.’s labor force – some temporary, some seasonal and some long-term. And though the name “Crenshaw” has been injected into the project, it promises to be of a much broader regional scope.
Since the meeting was confined to members of the media, future meetings/public hearings were scheduled in late September and October designed to accommodate the public – residents, businesses, churches and all interested parties.
Two alternative design options were outlined and the Metropolitan Transit Authority will hold public hearings before voting on which of the two options to build.Â