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Day Laborers Hold Coronavirus-Safe Protest at City Hall, Decry “Exclusion”

Workers say they are excluded from economic protection in wake of pandemic

Published on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 | 12:44 pm

Pasadena day laborers and supporters Wednesday held a covid-safe car caravan of workers at Pasadena City Hall to protest what they say is an exclusion of workers from financial protection in the wake of the current pandemic.

“We want to send a very clear message to our city,” said said Pablo Alvarado, Co-Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON). “The federal government has excluded significant segments of workers who are essential, who are crucial to the local economy, and the question is, will our city do the same?”

Alvarado continued,  “The City of Los Angeles has dedicated its resources. The state government has dedicated resources to assist those workers. The question is will this will, will our city emulate the federal government or will they emulate Eric Garcetti. We want them to emulate Eric Garcetti, and create a plan to support workers because the health crisis is happening right now. We don’t know how long it’s going to take, but the economic pandemic is going to hit a lot of people in different ways and we leave the city to have a plan, a robust plan to make sure that we’re going to take care of those workers.”  

Ed Washatka of POP! (Pasadenans Organizing for Progress) told Pasadena Now, “The City cannot exist without immigrant workers, the essential workers, whether they’re working in hospitals or hotels or in restaurants, they must be supported. Washington has excluded them. In Pasadena, they must be included. 

“We are asking the city of Pasadena to come up with a plan to help these members of our community,” he continued. “Not just today, but going forward from today, because this pandemic is not going to end on May 15th, it’s going to continue, and we like to talk with them about a plan going forward.”

City Manager Steve Mermell said during the demonstration that the City is in support of the protesting workers.

“Whether you’re documented or undocumented,” he said, “you’re a resident of our city. You’re a resident of our state. You’re a resident of the United States. People should not be excluded from assistance from the federal or state government just because of their status. 

“We know that the number of people that are being represented today are grocery workers, restaurant workers, the people that need support,” Mermell continued.

Mermell also noted that the City of Pasadena Department of Water and Power has rebated over $11 million to local customers, and added, “We need the federal government to provide support to all residents of the United States. My understanding it’s that the governor has announced a plan to assist all residents of the state of California, and we support those efforts.” 

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