On Monday, February 14, Valentine’s Day, more than 400 Los Angeles City workers rallied on the south lawn of Los Angeles City Hall calling on LA City leaders to work with them to fix the budget, and to preserve and restore front line services. They also rallied to cut all unnecessary spending and end expensive contracting out.
LA City workers held red picket signs that read, “We are the Heart of LA.” In the center of each sign was a big white heart where each worker could fill in the service s/he provides to the city. Signs read: “Parks and Recreation,” “I design sewage systems,” “Airports,” “Maintaining buses,” “Librarian,” “City Engineer,” “Fire Fighter.”
Maria Elena Durazo, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor AFL-CIO, looked out at the sea of signs and suggested:
Let’s have a day without city workers. Let’s have a day without the workers that keep L.A. safe, healthy, and protected. Let’s have a day without workers who make sure airport runways are clear. Let’s have a day without the workers who climb into sewers or who climb up onto power lines. Let’s have a day without those who keep our beaches safe and our parks clean for our children.
One of the workers in the crowd, Jose Chavez, a traffic sign poster for the City of LA, agreed that the general public operates with a peace of mind provided by city workers that is generally taken for granted. “We make the roads safer for all of the traffic and all of the drivers,” said Chavez, who has worked for the City of LA for five years posting stop signs, pedestrian crossings, warning signs, street sweeping and detour signs.
Jacob Miller has worked for 10 years with the City of Los Angeles. Wearing a city uniform and carrying a rally sign that read “Animal Service Worker,” Miller explained:
We care for the sick, unwanted, abandoned, and lost animals for the City of Los Angeles. We help get them back to their homes or into loving new homes. We get a lot of people coming in who are losing their homes and have no other place to put their pet. We offer them a place where they can leave their pet as a last resort and try to find a new home for it.