The Los Angeles labor movement took a significant hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. Months of lockdown resulted in layoffs of hotel and restaurants workers, and UNITE HERE Local 11, which represents hospitality workers in the area, lost more than 95% of its membership. As hundreds of thousands of workers in the entertainment industry experienced a complete shutdown of their film and television production jobs, cargo ships at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles came to a complete stop. Workers in the construction industry were also hit hard because of COVID-19.
To help our union members and others in the community, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor Community Services (LCS) agency teamed up with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank to provide food to those in need. Since the pandemic, the coalition has held 40 distributions in the Greater Los Angeles County area and provided food to 209,000 families.
The most recent distribution on July 18 was special because AFGE helped lead the event and turned out roughly 50 AFGE members and their families. AFGE Locals 505, 1061, and 2429 partnered with several community organizations, labor unions, and political leaders to distribute boxes of food including meat, dairy, fruit, produce and grains.
“Through our partnership, we were able to provide food to over 2,500 union members and families,” said AFGE National Representative for District 12 Yvonne Wheeler, who is also a vice president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. “I see this as a blessing to give back to our union members and the families in our communities that have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus.”
"I was so happy to see so many people from my local and our district,” said Local 2429 President Roslyn Austin-Stewart. “By donating a few hours of our time, we were able to provide food for other union members who may have lost jobs, or are caring for a family member with Covid-19, or people in Los Angeles County who face food insecurity every day.”