What does labor do when times get tough? Labor gives back.
This Labor Day, for the second year in a row, a few dozen IBEW 11 volunteers spent labor’s special day helping to provide 3,400 meals to needy Angelenos who continue to be squeezed by the effects of the pandemic. Their task? To feed the hundreds of labor volunteers who turned up at Banning Park in Wilmington to show the world what labor does on Labor Day.
“We help. We take care of our own and take care of the community.” said Armando Olivas, executive director of Labor Community Services. “We’ve given away over 2.2 million pounds of food, diapers and PPE to union members since the pandemic began.”
“We’re here today feeding the volunteers who are doing the tough job of distributing food and helping get groceries to the people who need them,” said Local 11’s Francisco “Paco” Arago. “This is all about solidarity today. We are showing our belief system. Coming out here to help the community shows who we are and feeds our souls as union members.”
The food giveaway is a great alternative to the traditional Labor Day parade that has been a tradition in Los Angeles for 42 years, noted IBEW 11 President Rusty Roten. “Instead of staying home today, or hiding from the pandemic, we’re marking our special day by helping feed people in their time of crisis. Our members started showing up at 6 a.m. to fire up our famous grill so they could get these volunteers fed.”
Added LA County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, President Ron Herrera, “We’re a union town, and we’re so proud we can pay our respects to our community and give back. That’s what labor does.”