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Center Column Archives
As the holiday season hit full force at the shopping/vacation destination of Carmel by the Sea, former La Playa Hotel workers continued to remain hopeful that some of those in attendance at a labor rally at the hotel on December 20th would receive back the jobs that they lost over a year ago. Since the hotel re-opened over the summer, only three of the former 113 workers have been re-hired.
After more than a dozen labor demonstrations at La Playa Carmel this summer which followed the announcement of a boycott of the hotel, community members had new answers to the question, "Is this working?" At a rally at the hotel held on September 28, Mark Weller of UNITE HERE Local 483, the hospitality union that represents workers in the Monterey Bay area, cited the recent contract approval negotiated for workers at Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley as a victory for La Playa workers also.
On August 4th, a roving dance party with a large banner that read “Fuck The Permits, F.T.P., Fuck The Police” marched in solidarity with the vendors of Art Murmur. On July 6th, uniformed security officers had informed Art Murmur vendors that anyone without a permit would be ticketed, starting in August. Many vendors and artists ignored the threat of being ticketed, and set their tables in illegal spaces.
The third annual Festival del Nopal took place in downtown Santa Cruz on Sunday July 22. The festival featured many local food vendors using nopal, or prickly pear cactus, in a variety of cuisine such as pupusas, huraches, salad, tlayudas, baked potatoes, fries, and tacos. The event, founded and coordinated by City Councilmember Tony Madrigal, celebrates the significance of the nopal in Mexican cuisine and showcases the plant's versatility and healing properties.
At a rally on July 6th, hotel workers and labor groups called for a boycott of La Playa Carmel, and organizers have also requested a strong turnout from community members for a two-day "siege" of the hotel from 7am-7pm on July 20th and 21st
. The decision to boycott the La Playa was not an easy one; it was endorsed first by the workers' union and the Monterey Bay Central Labor Council, and then the California Labor Federation.
Several hundred nurses demonstrated in front of the Alta Bates Medical Center which is operated by Sutter Health on July 3rd. The Berkeley hospital was one of seven Sutter hospitals in the San Francisco Bay area where nurses held a one-day strike. The strike was organized by the California Nurses Association (CNA) . The CNA is also holding a healthcare tour across the state with free medical screenings.
On Saturday, June 23rd, the Springfield Grange in Pájaro hosted the Festival of Tamales, a benefit for the Grange and Center for Farmworker Families. The menu featured delicious sweet and savory tamales, made with GMO-free masa from El Aguila Foods, including turkey and chile verde, sweet corn, and ollalieberry pecan praline. The tamales were made by local community members using recipes from El Salvador, Mexico, Texas, and the Monterey Bay Area.