Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Labor groups rally with Boxer, Villaraigosa at City Hall

August 13, 2010 |  3:05 pm
Several thousand union members Friday rallied against pay cuts, furloughs and reduced services on the south lawn at Los Angeles City Hall at an event where their leaders railed against the top ticket Republican candidates in California, Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina.
During the event organized by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and the National AFL-CIO, Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa vowed to keep fighting for L.A.’s 30/10 Plan, which would speed up 12 area transportation projects and complete them in 10 years rather than 30 years.

But labor leaders also expressed broader themes that will be a major focus on the campaign trail this year, accusing Republicans in Congress of standing in the way of jobs legislation.

Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, called Whitman, the former chief executive of EBay, “shady” and faulted Fiorina for overseeing thousands of layoffs while she headed Hewlett-Packard Co. from 1999 to 2005.

“You need leaders who can create jobs and save jobs and deal with tough budget situations,” he said. "So in the two elections for governor and senator, what do the Republicans throw at the problem? Two clueless CEOs.”

Fiorina’s spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, defended her record at Hewlett-Packard, stating that Fiorina is the only candidate in the race “who has actually created a job.”

Boxer’s policies, Saul said, are “are sitting so poorly with voters during 12.3% unemployment that she’s forced to call in her left-wing reinforcements as payback for her years of unwavering support of big labor.”

Many members of the City Hall audience won’t have a vote in California and weren’t familiar with the issues facing Los Angeles. The vast majority were letter carriers from across the country who had been attending their convention in Anaheim this week. The group was brought to City Hall in 65 buses from Anaheim. Several said their top priority this year is encouraging leaders to preserve Saturday postal service.

-- Maeve Reston at Los Angeles City Hall