Why You Should March on Labor Day

Joaquin-Miramontes_2x125long.jpgClick here for information on this year's Labor Day events. All SEIU 721 members are encouraged to participate.

Working people should be together on Labor Day. It's our day.

As a Supervising Social Worker, I work hard for LA County's children. That's my job and I love it. But I've always been active in my union. I have always cared about working people because I understand their struggles. They are my struggles too.

For the past five years, I have represented SEIU Local 721 on the LA/LB Harbor Labor Coalition, the group that organizes the big Labor Solidarity Parade on Labor Day in Wilmington, the Port of LA.

I got involved with the parade because SEIU hadn't been involved for some time. I thought that should change. We are a big union and we support our union sisters and brothers throughout the region. Now, SEIU 721 is a prominent part of the Labor Solidarity Parade.

When I asked to join the coalition, they said "yes" enthusiastically. There are a lot of other unions represented. I work closely with the Teamsters, the ILWU, United Teachers Los Angeles and others. I am part of the school outreach and communications committees.

Last year, 2012, was a great year because SEIU 721 members brought LA City Sanitation trucks as part of our contingent. Our president, Bob Schoonover, spoke and it was an excellent event.

This year, Bob will also be speaking at the 12 noon rally in Banning Park. With all the low-wage worker organizing going on, this should be a really great parade.

I'm also proud to say that marching bands from 12 local high schools will be in the parade. I grew up in East LA, went to Roosevelt High and wanted to get them and their sister schools involved. Now, along with Roosevelt, Garfield High and Lincoln High have joined us. Unions that participate in the parade donate money and the parade committee pays for the buses to get students to the event. We also help buy instruments for the schools that come.

SEIU 721 Members Should Be There

Whether you are in contract negotiations now or will be there soon, all SEIU Local 721 members should stand together and be united. It's a day of unity and solidarity for the overall labor movement.

Also, the Labor Solidarity Parade is the only major Labor Day parade on the West Coast. We need to support it and make it grow.

I'm involved because I like to lead by example. I want my co-workers and other union sisters and brothers to see me involved in this work and say, "I want to be like that." I'll never just tell people what to do. I want to show them.

That's why I organized my mother, who is 88-years-old, and my brother to attend the parade. Many of my friends are also going.

You should be there too.

-Joaquin Miramontes
LA County Supervising Children's Social Worker,
Member of the Bargaining Team 777

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