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March 29, 2011

CES Supports LA Union March & Rally For Good Jobs


Coalition for Economic Survival (CES)

CES in Action!

CES Supports LA Union March & Rally for Good Jobs & Solidarity With Wisconsin


Thousands March and Rally in
Los Angeles for Good Jobs and In
Solidarity With Wisconsin Workers

On Saturday, March 26, 2011, organized labor and supporters took to the streets of Los Angeles. Some 10,000 union members and supporters gathered in Downtown for the "Our Communities, Our Good Jobs" labor march and rally.

The massive and important event, which was dubbed "Solidarity Saturday," was organized by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor AFL-CIO, which plans to organize similar actions throughout the country. 

Marchers with signs linked the day's events with protests in Egypt and Wisconsin, and unions representing various trades (including teachers, firefighters, truck drivers, hotel workers, librarians, farm workers and nurses) marched together with supporters from the religious, civil rights and economic justice communities for higher wages and better jobs.

The Coalition for Economic Survival (CES) was one of the many groups that joined to support the numerous labor unions from throughout the greater Los Angeles area.

The march began outside Staples Center. Marching through Downtown L.A., the group stopped in front of Ralph's, JP Morgan Bank, T-Mobile, and the Luxe Hotel in protest of their "Wal-Mart Wages."


High Powered Speakers & Performers Address the Rally


The protest ended up in Pershing Square for a rally that featured high-powered speakers and entertainers.

Mahlon Mitchell, President of the
Wisconsin Fire Fighters, Addresses the Crowd

A keynote speaker was Wisconsin Firefighters Union President Mahlon Mitchell. In his rousing speech connecting Wisconsin to LA, Mitchell said, "This is about an attack on me. This is about an attack on you. This is an emergency we have in Wisconsin and across the U.S. This is about an attack on the middle class. We need to reclaim our moral outrage ... because we are in the battle of a lifetime."

Maria Elena Durazo, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, told the crowd, "In Los Angeles, we're not going to sit back and watch Republican governors and their right-wing corporate backers roll back the freedoms of working people in this country. We support Wisconsin and any other state where those freedoms are under attack."

Tom Morello Performs 'Union Song' at Los Angeles Labor Rally
Video Shot by Larry Gross

Tom Morello of "Rage Against the Machine" (view video) and Grammy award-winning Latin rock and hip-hop band, Ozomatli, provided stirring performances.  Morello, known for his unwavering support for labor, headlined a concert last month for the protestors in Wisconsin.


Teamsters President James P. Hoffa
Addresses the Crowd
Teamsters President James P. Hoffa said, "To look out at the thousands of working men and women at today's march is inspiring... Let this serve notice to all the anti-worker, corporate interests that are attacking America's middle class - we will not let them win!"

Other key labor union leaders marching and speaking at the rally included SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, UFCW President Joe Hansen, UNITE HERE President John Wilhelm, United Farmworkers Union President Arturo Rodriquez and Laborers International Union Vice President Rocco Davis.


United Farmworkers Union President
Arturo Rodriquez After Speaking to Crowd
The protest was also part of the nationwide response that has exploded due to the passage of the union-busting Wisconsin law, authored by Republican Gov. Scott Walker, requiring most public sector workers to contribute more to their pensions and health insurance, and changes that amount to an average 8% pay cut. The law also strips unions of the ability to collectively bargain for anything except wages.

The Wisconsin law has been temporarily suspended based on a judge's order.

The law has also sparked a Wisconsin wide movement to recall many of the Republican lawmakers who supported the passage of the bill.

April 4: National Day of Solidarity with Wisconsin

Actions continue on April 4, when L.A. will stand again with Wisconsin and labor across the U.S. on the National Day of Action for workers' rights and collective bargaining. 

The L.A. solidarity event at the First AME Church of Los Angeles begins with a Wisconsin Bratwurst Barbeque provided by IBEW Local 11. The program follows with Pastor John Hunter, William Lucy, retired Secretary-Treasurer of AFSCME and union leader in the 1968 Memphis sanitation strike, and Reverend James Lawson, Civil Rights leader and community organizer in the 1968 Memphis sanitation strike.

CLICK HERE to View More Pictures From the Los Angeles March and Rally for Good Jobs & In Solidarity With Wisconsin Workers


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