Monday, September 04, 2006

Labor Day:
Immigrant workers on the move

We want "papers" (legal status) and justice.
Again today, immigrant workers made their claim to be the backbone of the contemporary U.S. working class, hiking up Market Street to a rally in San Francisco's Civic Center. For many citizens, Labor Day signals the beginning of the election campaign season. Labor day rallies have long showcased Democratic politicians -- but these folks had their own demands.

The San Jose Mercury News reported their message:

"Treat us as the labor force that moves the wealth in this country," Haydee Martinez, a San Francisco march organizer, told participants in Spanish. "We want legalization for everybody."

...Organized labor and anti-Bush groups joined legal and illegal immigrants in a boisterous march of more than 2,000 in downtown San Francisco, beating drums and singing in the streets.

"We are people. We are humans. We came here to work, not to steal anything," said Carlos Rosales, 35, of San Leandro, a legal U.S. resident who arrived from Mexico City in 1990 and runs a trucking business.

This guy was blowing a conch shell.

Unite Here Local 2 is the union representing San Francisco hotel employees, many of them immigrants. Workers at 13 hotels are bargaining for a new contract; in fact on August 25, they voted by a margin of 2,241-168 to authorize a strike if negotiations fail. Since the Market St. route passed two of the target hotels, Local 2 members took advantage of the opportunity to build support.

... with a picket line outside the Palace Hotel..

and signs in front of the Four Seasons.

Our future was all smiles on the march today.

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