LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Labor Day was marked in Los Angeles Monday by rallies and marches in downtown Los Angeles and Wilmington, and a music festival in Grand Park.
A “Fight For 15” rally organized by the Service Employees International Union seeking a nationwide $15 hourly minimum wage began at 10 a.m. at Grand and Cesar E. Chavez avenues in downtown L.A. Participants will then march to Main and First streets for a rally at 11:30 a.m. It was one of hundreds of similar rallies across the nation.
Also joining forces in downtown L.A. with the Fight For 15 were hundreds of protesters who are against President Trump’s reported plans to end support for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).
Meanwhile, a smaller strike began at 6 a.m. outside a McDonald’s in the 6300 block of Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Grove. Nonunion fast food workers walked off the job, as hundreds of union workers joined them.
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In response to the Fight For 15 rallies, Arthur Schaper, president of the Beach Cities Republicans, issued a statement that read in part.
“Forced unionism has waned to its lowest ebb yet, as workers find that not joining a union works for them. The Fight for $15 minimum wage hike has turned into the flight of jobs, businesses, and economic growth in many cities and states where labor unions have agitated for its implementation. Public sector union demands for higher wages and better benefits for the same work have enraged already over-burdened tax payers and forced municipalities to slash pensions or declare bankruptcy outright. Forced unionism has even hurt workers’ children, as they still receive a poor education without accountability in schools where unions, not parents or students, have the final say.”
A music festival was taking place in downtown L.A.’s Grand Park. The sixth annual Nightshift Labor Day Music Fest was billed by organizers as “L.A.’s party for working people.” It will include a beer garden and food trucks. Rocker Grace Potter will be the headliner.
The rest of the lineup consists of The Revolution, late artist Prince’s band; Latin jazz musician Pancho Sanchez; the Noladelic power funk band Big Sam’s Funky Nation; the Latin, hip-hop and rock band Ozomatli; and the Southern California-based Latin funk band B-Side Players.
Doors opened at 11 a.m. with the opening act taking the stage at noon. The concert is scheduled to conclude at 10 p.m. General admission tickets are $20, while VIP tickets, which include shaded seating, restrooms and food and beverage are $500.
Meanwhile, a second minimum wage rally was held in the community of Wilmington, near Long Beach. The theme of the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Labor Coalition’s 38th annual Labor Solidarity Parade was “Union Proud. Union Strong.” Thousands of union members, their families, supporters and friends marched at 10 a.m. from the intersection of Broad Avenue and E Street to Banning Park, where a rally and barbecue began at noon.
To Rusty Hicks, the executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, Labor Day is “a time to reflect on the battles fought and victories won by our sisters and brothers before us.”
In his Labor Day proclamation, Gov. Jerry Brown wrote that Californians “should remember how much progress has allowed us to celebrate this Labor Day.”
Brown also urged all Californians “to take this opportunity to appreciate not only the vast contribution of labor to our economy, but also the privilege of living under a fair and well-regulated system of industrial relations.”
The proclamation made reference to the 1894 Pullman Strike that shut down most of the nation’s railroads west of Detroit; the deaths of two men participating in a longshoremen’s strike in San Francisco in 1934 by police gunfire that came to be known as “Bloody Thursday”; and the 1935 passage of the Wagner Act that guaranteed the rights of private sector workers to organize into unions.
In 1887, Oregon became the first state to formally recognize Labor Day. By 1894, 31 of the then 44 states had made Labor Day a holiday when Congress passed a bill designating the first Monday in September a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and territories.
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