The LA Times this morning squeals in protest at Maria Elena Durazo being named to lead the huge, powerful Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. “Business leaders” are concerned that she won’t be compliant. Gasp. Worse, the Times moans, she may actually, now hold on here, fight for the workers she represents. HowÃ‚Â “contentious” of her to do so.
They should be nervous. Durazo is the real deal. Not only has she spoken at ANSWER LA antiwar rallies, she fights tooth and nail for her union workers. Hard.
Why? Well even the Times had to admit it, quoting her.
“There is a very vivid scene that stays with me Ã¢â‚¬â€ I must have been 5 years old,” she said. “It’s being in a church with a small white casket being carried down the aisle. It was my infant brother, who had died because my mom and dad couldn’t get him to a doctor.”
The church was somewhere in the fields of the San Joaquin Valley. It was not a familiar one to the family, and Durazo recalls a priest taking up a collection so her family could afford to bury her brother.
Finishing the story, she asked: “How could that be that 11 kids and two adults working in the fields day in and day out didn’t have enough money to bury one of the family?
“How could that be?”
It’ll be instructive to see how things play out between her and LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a former union organizer who now wants to slash spending, cut staffing, etc. He’s been a compliant mayor, doing what business wants, and is bordering on becoming anti-union. Durazo may prove to be an immovable force. Good.