Walk of Honor

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Save The Date: Nov. 11, 2014, OC Fair & Event Center

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Veterans + Labor: Honoring and standing with our heroes

Too many of the veterans who proudly served our country still don’t receive the support they’ve earned or the services they need when returning home. Labor unions from across the state are taking the lead to change that.

We adopted Veterans Day as a time for the labor movement to come together and make a difference in the lives of local servicemen and women.

Together we launched Veterans + Labor: Partners in Service, bringing together a team of dedicated partners including: the California and Orange County labor federations; the Orange County Register; PBS SoCal; OC Fair & Event Center; Orange County Market Place; OC Veterans Advisory Council; and various other community groups.

In Southern California, Labor hosted volunteer projects, cleaning up the USS Iowa battleship stationed in San Pedro, and refurbishing a VFW Hall in Anaheim in the week before Veterans Day. Next, we went to Sacramento and unveiled Labor’s plans to connect veterans to good jobs that utilize their unique skills and training.

Then, in the biggest Veterans Day event in Orange County, our nation’s heroes joined workers and members of the community at the O.C. fairgrounds for a day of dancing, food and stewardship. More than 3,500 people showed up, many just to say “thank you” to our heroes. Service providers connected veterans to jobs and basic services they need. Children wrote thank you cards and sent care packages. Together, we spent a day honoring the sacrifices that keep us free.

The California labor movement are committed to standing with veterans, not just on Veterans Day, but throughout the year. We will continue hosting service projects, and next year’s Veterans Day event will be even bigger and better than the first.

If you would like to get involved, please contact OCEA’s Cathy Yatch at (714) 835-3355.

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Daily Pilot: Thousands salute veterans

They came in droves Monday to the Orange County Fairgrounds, many proudly wearing white stickers that read, "I'm a veteran."

The free Veterans Day event, part of a union-led effort called Veterans + Labor: Partners in Service, brought together Southern California veterans young and old, active-duty service members, veterans' support groups and families to celebrate the holiday.

Officials called it the largest Veterans Day event in recent memory. An estimated 3,000 people came to hear the live music, speak to veterans, visit the information booths, learn about American military history and enjoy free hot dogs.

Read more here

(Photo courtesy Daily Pilot)

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Sacramento Business Journal: Labor leaders push hiring initiative for veterans

California labor leaders have launched an initiative to open doors to jobs for veterans, promote job protections and prevent discrimination.

Among states that receive grants for veterans from the U.S. Department of Labor, California has one of the lowest rates of job placement in the nation.

Read more here

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Veterans + Labor: Labor groups spruce up battleship and VFW hall

Local Veterans + Labor efforts included volunteer cleanup of the USS Iowa battleship, stationed in San Pedro, and the refurbishment of a VFW Hall in Anaheim in the week before Veterans Day.

In San Pedro, more than 100 volunteers navigated the small corridors and tiny rooms of the famed warship, dusting and cleaning sleeping quarters, the mess hall, and other areas of the ship in preparation for its conversion to a museum.

“It was a lot of filthy work. Our room had been wired shut for 25 years before it was opened for us to clean,” OCEA Administrative Manager Cathy Yatch said. “Participating was a great sense of accomplishment.”

In Anaheim, painters, electricians, cement workers and laborers from more than 10 Southern California unions volunteered to spruce up VFW Post 3173 (pictured above). Volunteers power-washed and painted the front of the building, leveled uneven cement on sidewalks, cleaned out office rooms and fixed electrical outlets inside of the building.

“It was overdue—that’s how needed this was. It’s just fantastic that all of the trades have come out and adopted this post this year for this project,” said Gary Mason, commander of the Anaheim VFW. “I’m so grateful—we’re all so thankful it happened. Most of us are up in age now. Like I’ve said, we’ve joined the ‘cane brigade,’ so we can’t get around like we used to.”

The volunteers were happy to lend their skills to help our nation’s heroes.

“People hear a lot of negative things about unions in newspapers and on TV, but we’re just people like everyone else,” said Doug Mangione, business representative at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 441 in Orange. “We’re workers, we fight for workers—that’s our job. When the community sees us out here doing this and we’re not getting a dime for it, I think they look at us in a different light.”

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Veterans + Labor: Our Policy Platform

On Friday, Nov. 8, 2013, labor unions joined with elected officials and veterans and announced a new policy platform dedicated to assisting our nation's heroes in securing good jobs upon returning from service.

To support our nation's heroes, we have adopted the following 7-point policy platform: 

1. Create and grow good jobs for veterans

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs annual survey of veterans, jobs are their number one concern. Yet, among states that receive grants for vets from the U.S. Department of Labor, California has one of the lowest rates of placing veterans in jobs. We must align our state resources—incentives, contracts, purchasing, hiring—to encourage and reward the hiring of veterans, who represent the best in possible employees.

2. Match training and skills to veterans 

Veterans come out of active duty with significant skills that can be translated into a variety of careers. Too often, the language used to describe military job duties doesn’t match the language of those hiring in the civilian world. Military training doesn’t match with licensing requirements, apprenticeship requirements or public employee requirements. We support policies that capture and maximize the skills vets have acquired to gain them the best jobs in growing fields that pay living wages.

3. Protect jobs for veterans

Workers should be rewarded, not disadvantaged, when they go into active or reserve service. Vets should have guarantees that their jobs will be there when they return, that they be able to maintain their health care coverage, and that they will have recall rights should their jobs get eliminated. We will support policies that promote job protections for veterans and prevent discrimination.

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Sacramento Bee: California lawmakers, labor push veteran jobs initiative

From the Sacramento Bee: "California state government will take a break Monday in honor of Veterans Day, and today lawmakers and labor leaders will launch a program to connect vets to work.

The new "Veterans + Labor — Partners in Service" program will introduce some policy priorities that would encourage hiring veterans, bolster job training and increase veteran housing.

Read more here

(Photo: Sacramento Bee)

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