Labor Day marked in Los Angeles with rallies, music festival

- Labor Day will be marked in Los Angeles Monday by rallies and marches in Wilmington and downtown Los Angeles and a music festival in Grand Park.

The theme of the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Labor Coalition's 38th annual Labor Solidarity Parade is "Union Proud. Union Strong.''

Thousands of union members, their families, supporters and friends, are expected for the march, which will begin at 10 a.m. at the intersection of Broad Avenue and E Street, go west on E Street to Avalon Boulevard, continue north on Avalon Boulevard to M Street, concluding at Banning Park, where a rally and barbecue will begin at noon.

A rally organized by the Service Employees International Union seeking a nationwide $15 hourly minimum wage was held at 10 a.m. at Grand and Cesar E. Chavez avenues. Participants then marched to Main and First streets for a rally.

The sixth annual Nightshift Labor Day Music Fest is billed by organizers as "L.A.'s party for working people.'' It will include a beer garden and food trucks. Rocker Grace Potter will be the headliner.

The rest of the lineup consists of The Revolution, late artist Prince's band; Latin jazz musician Pancho Sanchez; the Noladelic power funk band Big Sam's Funky Nation; the Latin, hip-hop and rock band Ozomatli; and the Southern California-based Latin funk band B-Side Players.

Doors opened at 11 a.m. with the opening act taking the stage at noon. The concert is scheduled to conclude at 10 p.m. General admission tickets are $20, while VIP tickets, which include shaded seating, restrooms and food and beverage are $500.

To Rusty Hicks, the executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, Labor Day is "a time to reflect on the battles fought and victories won by our sisters and brothers before us.''

"Many of the rights and protections we enjoy today are the direct result of those battles and victories,'' Hicks told City News Service. "It's also a time to honor and thank all workers of today, no matter your background, who you are, or where you come from. You keep our country moving.''

In his Labor Day proclamation, Gov. Jerry Brown wrote that Californians "should remember how much progress has allowed us to celebrate this Labor Day.''

Brown also urged all Californians "to take this opportunity to appreciate not only the vast contribution of labor to our economy, but also the privilege of living under a fair and well-regulated system of industrial relations.''

The proclamation made reference to the 1894 Pullman Strike that shut down most of the nation's railroads west of Detroit; the deaths of two men participating in a longshoremen's strike in San Francisco in 1934 by police gunfire that came to be known as "Bloody Thursday''; and the 1935 passage of the Wagner Act that guaranteed the rights of private sector workers to organize into unions.

The White House had not issued the traditional presidential Labor Day as of Sunday night.

Labor Day, a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of the nation, was first celebrated in the U.S. on Sept. 5, 1882 in New York City.

In 1887, Oregon became the first state to formally recognize Labor Day. By 1894, 31 of the then 44 states had made Labor Day a holiday when Congress passed a bill designating the first Monday in September a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and territories.

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