Los Angeles area chapters join Labor Federation
In an effort to gain support during a time when workers are coming under attack, six chapters in the Los Angeles area joined the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. The chapters are Alhambra Chapter 295, Montebello Chapter 505, Los Angeles Chapter 500, Rio Hondo Community College Chapter 477, South Whittier Chapter 348 and El Monte Elementary Chapter 10.
Espie Medellin, president of Chapter 500, said chapter members need all of the help they can get in an environment where the district is cutting classified employees and privatizing public schools.
“A lot of people aren’t aware of what is going on,” she said. “The labor federation gives us a venue for us to take our message and give our side.”
According to Medellin, the chapter needs a strong voice to stand up against cuts that have resulted in the loss of more than 2,400 classified jobs since 2009. Now, another 3,000 employees are facing layoff. Medellin said some board members are acting on behalf of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has backed them politically. As mayor, Villaraigosa has no official authority over what happens in the Los Angeles Unified School District, but he’s gained a foothold by pushing a program to give private entities control of some Los Angeles public schools.
“Politics go hand in hand with the internal dynamics of the district, so being involved is a no brainer for us,” Medellin said.
Medellin said that with help from the local labor community, Chapter 500 will be able to provide strong backing to good candidates for the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education.
Even though Chapter 500 has had sworn delegates to the Los Angeles County Labor Federation for only a couple of months, Medellin said that chapter members have already seen the value of belonging to a large organization devoted to protecting working families.
“We’ve had people from the labor federation speak before our school board about our concerns on our behalf and we know that they will not hesitate to continue actively supporting our campaign to fight back against the cuts,” Medellin said.
Join your local Central Labor Council
CSEA chapters that want to have a stronger voice in local labor issues may join their local labor federations. Contact your CSEA field office for more information.