Unions: We will not go back, no recall

LOS ANGELES – From a rally to a massive march of 10,000, the focus of union families this Labor Day was clear – “No to the recall.” Unionists representing the over 800,000 members from 350 unions utilized the day to launch their campaign against the attempt to recall Gov. Gray Davis.

“We will not go back!” shouted Miguel Contreras, executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, referring to the anti-labor legacy from 16 years of Republican control of the governor’s house.

“We have 37 days ’til election day. Are we ready to fight, to walk precincts, to phone, to send our message?” Contreras asked the rally where Davis was the featured speaker. “Yes! Sí, se puede!” was the answer.

Davis told the crowd, “You are not a special interest. But, you have a very special role in California,” contrasting himself with Republican gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger’s attack on labor as a “special interest.”

“You build our roads and bridges. You teach our youngsters. You heal the sick and comfort the elderly. You pick the food in the hot sun. You build our cars and airplanes. You make the mail come on time. You keep the phones working and when there is a fire, you put it out. You are California,” Davis said.

Art Pulaski, executive secretary-treasurer of the California Labor Federation, also fired up the crowd when he said, “The people behind this recall say it is about one man, but it’s not. This recall is because they want to take away our overtime pay, they want to recall health care for working families, recall our job protections and our safety at work, recall our living wage and prevailing wage and our small class size in our schools, our voice at work on the job ... but we are not going to let them.”

Pulaski received laughs when he said California’s working people don’t have to go to Gold’s gym to be strong. “Working people are the people with the real muscles. We build our muscles by doing the heavy lifting at our work, by the heavy load we carry everyday,” Pulaski said.

State Senator Gilbert Cedillo told the World that Gov. Davis would be signing a driver’s license bill for undocumented immigrants which Cedillo will introduce to the Senate this week.

“With a Democratic governor like Gray Davis, we know that immigrant workers who are the foundation of California’s economic prosperity, can be assured that they can drive to and from work without fear of being stopped, and with the dignity and respect they deserve,” Cedillo said.

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