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Thousands rally at L.A. City Hall for jobs

August 13, 2010 9:21:04 PM PDT
The focus was on jobs at Los Angeles City Hall Friday. Thousands turned out for a labor rally Friday and union and political leaders called for passage of bills that will create more jobs in California.Union officials called Friday's rally at City Hall the beginning of a national movement, a campaign for "good jobs now." Many of those who turned out were U.S. Postal Service employees who could be affected very soon by cuts or layoffs.

Thousands of people jammed the south lawn of City Hall for a rally focused on creating jobs. Most of them were letter carriers bused in from a national convention in Anaheim. There is a proposal to cut some 80,000 Postal Service jobs by going to a five-day work week.

The National Association of Letter Carriers promises a battle.

"They're determined to save tens of thousands of good jobs, important jobs, by preserving six-day-a-week mail delivery," said Fredric Rolando, president of the association.

The union and political leaders were "preaching to the choir" in a city which has a more than 12 percent unemployment rate, among the nation's highest.

"Three quarters of a million people without jobs right here in L.A. And that's not unacceptable," said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. "That's a crisis."

A top priority for Los Angeles City Hall and the unions is the 30/10 Initiative. It could mean up to 166,000 jobs.

30/10 is a favorite of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. If approved it would compress 30 years of public works projects into 10 years. But it would need a federal loan guarantee.

Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer is on board along with many members of the California delegation.

"We know if we do embrace this notion of 30/10, we will create thousands of good-paying union jobs and we will reduce our billion-dollar-a-day addiction to foreign oil," said Boxer.

A few blocks away, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was talking jobs and the economy with the L.A. Metro Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He told the members that businesses need stimulation like tax incentives and a reduction in burdensome regulations from the state.

"In order to stimulate the economy and create the jobs that we need, which therefore will bring in more revenues, we've got to go and give incentives to businesses like you," said Schwarzenegger.

But the governor would be the first to admit there can't be any positive movement until the state budget crisis is solved.


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