LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A Labor Day parade in Wilmington and a rally and march in East Hollywood in support of Kaiser Permanente workers led to the arrest of 31 protesters for failure to disperse, according to Officer Tony Im of the Los Angeles Police Department.
The 30-minute East Hollywood rally began at 10 a.m. at Los Angeles City College, and was attended by Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, and Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, among other local leaders. It was followed by a march to Kaiser Permanente's Los Angeles Medical Center.
Similar Labor Day protests by Kaiser Permanente workers were also held in Oakland, Sacramento and Portland, Oregon.
Kaiser Permanente workers across the state have voted overwhelmingly to authorize their union to call a strike if a labor contract cannot be reached.
Jacob Hay, one of the rally and march's organizers, said The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions is seeking a new contract that would:
-- “Restore a true worker-management partnership, and have Kaiser bargain in good faith;”
-- “Ensure safe staffing and compassionate use of technology”;
-- “Build the workforce of the future to deal with major projected shortages of licensed and accredited staff in the coming years”; and
-- “Protect middle-class jobs with wages and benefits that can support families.”
Arlene Peasnall, Kaiser Permanente's senior vice president, human resources, said “Kaiser Permanente has a long and productive history with organized labor.”
“Our efforts to involve our workforce in decision-making and create an environment of continuous learning and improvement over the past 70-plus years have set the bar for how labor and management can work together,” Peasnall said.
“Just last fall, we successfully negotiated a contract with the Alliance of Health Care Unions that established a strong partnership that improves our working environment and rewards our employees with highly competitive wages, benefits and advancement programs.”
Meanwhile, thousands of people participated in Monday's 40th Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Labor Coalition Parade.
The parade stepped off at 10 a.m. at the intersection of Broad Avenue and E Street, go west on E Street to Avalon Boulevard, continued north on Avalon Boulevard to M Street, concluding at Banning Park. Bands from Banning, Carson, Garfield, Port of Los Angeles, San Pedro, Venice and Verdugo Hills high schools and Harry Bridges Middle School performed in the parade.
A rally and picnic was held at 11 a.m. at Banning Park. Speakers included Rusty Hicks, chair of the California Democratic Party, a former president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.
Monday was also Union Day at the Los Angeles County Fair in Pomona, including a parade that started at noon. Admission was discounted to $8 for union members and their families.
Labor Day, a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of the nation, was first celebrated in the U.S. on Sept. 5, 1882 in New York City.
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 today in September a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and territories.