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LA workers call for better wages, pensions for Labor Day

September 5, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
With anger directed at both political parties, hundreds of workers turned out for a Labor Solidarity March in Wilmington on Monday.

"With everything that's going on in the economy, I think the biggest message that we can send is jobs," said Luther Medina, vice president of the Metal Workers Union. "That's what it's all about. We need to let the politicians know that organized labor and workers in general are kind of fed up with the status quo."

It was the 32nd annual Labor Solidarity March. Union leaders said now more than ever was the time to get their message out.

"We're celebrating because we know what we do for this economy, whether you're an electrician or a longshore or a janitor or a hotel worker, we know what we do for this economy," said Maria Elena Durazoof the L.A. County Federation of Labor.

The march began at Broad Avenue and E Street, and they headed to Banning Park, where a rally was held. Union leaders Monday's event was one of the largest turnouts they've ever had.

"Labor is the engine of the economy, and we need to support labor, especially today," said L.A. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich.

Union members, politicians and community members said they wanted to send the message that hard workers deserve a decent wage, health care benefits and good pension plans.

"We've got to keep up the fight. This is to say we're in solidarity, that we're not going to allow a Wisconsin to go on here in California," said Rep. Laura Richardson (D - Long Beach).

With the economy still struggling, some in the crowd said they were very worried about their jobs. Julie Santoyo said she only works one day a week because she can't find full-time work.

"We're good workers, and we used to have our jobs, and now, we don't have anything," she said.

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