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Vol. 75/No. 14      April 11, 2011

L.A. rally: ‘We stand
with Wisconsin unions’
LOS ANGELES—More than 10,000 people gathered at the Los Angeles Convention Center March 26 to support public workers in Wisconsin and protest attacks on the union movement and working people in southern California and statewide.

Called by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor (LACFL) after 161 of its members flew to Madison, Wisconsin, for a solidarity rally in February, the march was overwhelmingly made up of union members.

The Teamsters brought the largest contingent, numbering several thousand. Some of the other sizable contingents included the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), United Teachers Los Angeles, UNITE HERE, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and United Farm Workers.

Also participating were community organizations protesting the cuts in the state budget signed into law by Gov. Edmund Brown a few days earlier.

The march from the convention center wound through the streets of Los Angeles, stopping at the Luxe Hotel where workers organized by UNITE HERE are fighting against speedup and firings, and at Ralph’s grocery store, a chain where more than 60,000 UFCW members are working under an extended contract as they are at Albertson’s and other grocery retailers.

Many of the union officials addressing the rally directed the energy of demonstrators into getting out the vote for the Democratic Party. No mention was made of Governor Brown, a Democrat, and his massive cuts directed against the working class. “We need to register to vote,” said Teamsters leader James Hoffa. A Teamsters flier featuring the union’s reactionary campaign against Mexican truckers being admitted into the United States was widely distributed at the demonstration.

Mayra Rodarte, a senior at Animo Leadership Charter High School, said, “I’m here to get the message across to the government to stop the wars and find other sources of income than taxing and cutting us and raising prices. They created the problem—not us.”

Jack Bryson, a member of SEIU and a leading activist in the fight to prosecute the cop who killed Oscar Grant, a Black worker shot in Oakland in 2009, said, “They cut our schools and then build more prisons. People are losing jobs and we are losing Oscar Grants to the police. We have to bring up all these issues for the unions also.”

Carole Lesnick and Laura Nunez contributed to this article.
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