California Studies Association

The latest news, events, and perspectives from the CSA

LaborFest 2010: Events Throughout July

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Welcome to LaborFest 2010

LaborFest 2010 takes place in the midst of devastating economic conditions for working people in the San Francisco Bay Area nationally and internationally. We now have the highest unemployment since the 1930’s. Since last LaborFest, millions of workers have lost their jobs, healthcare and their homes. Furloughs, cutbacks and layoffs are a daily experience for working people in San Francisco and around the country.

Today in San Francisco, 9,000 hotel workers are without a contract and are fighting multi-national hotel chains while over 100,000 state workers are working without a contract and a massive assault on their conditions and benefits.

All pensions and public services are under direct threat as well as the right to a public education for millions of workers and their families in California. All these gains have been won only after decades of effort by working people and organized labor.

The history of working people in San Francisco is one of tremendous struggle and solidarity to defend our unions and living conditions. In the midst of the 30’s depression in San Francisco, workers defeated the union busting efforts in the 1934 general strike and formed unions not only in longshore but among hundreds of thousands of workers making San Francisco one of the most unionized cities in the US.

This year’s LaborFest will commemorate the general strike of 1934 with films, plays, walks and forums. It will also have many new walks tieing the history of the working people to our buildings and regional sites. We are linking up with City Guides who will be co-sponsoring some of these walks with LaborFest.

We are also commemorating the projects of the WPA, which were built during the 1930’s. These monuments are a testament to the fact that public works can make a critical contribution to the lives of the workers who build them and to the advancement of our society. With mass unemployment among building trades workers, the need for work at union scale is critical. Many of these sites still contribute to our lives and make San Francisco and the Bay Area a unique and beautiful place.

We invite your participation and hope to expand LaborFest to your union and community in the coming years. We will be streaming some of the events on the web this year as well. Also, we have a Facebook page and we invite you to contribute your thoughts, ideas and pictures to this festival through these communication tools. Help make LaborFest an important vehicle to bring labor history and consciousness to the fore.

In Solidarity,
The LaborFest Organizing Committee

Graphic by Loise Gilbert “Bridges Negotiates for ILWU”


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