Workers March For Justice On Monday
Mirror staff writer
Church and state joined hands in support of a living wage in Santa Monica in Monday's "Journey for Justice." Police estimate that over 300 people took part in the march which began at the western end of Pico and proceeded along Ocean Avenue to the Fairmont Miramar Hotel.
Stephanie Monroe, of Santa Monicans Allied for Responsible Tourism (SMART), which proposed the living wage ordinance, compared this Easter week march with the Israelites' exodus from Egypt.
"Journey for Justice" is an annual event uniting clergy of different faiths and taking place in different cities. In addition to the expected quotient of banners, placards and yells of "Si, se puede," (Yes, we can), Mondayís event included six City Council members.
Council members Richard Bloom, Mike Feinstein and Kevin McKeown were at the head of the parade. Mayor Ken Genser, Mayor Pro Tempore Pam OíConnor and Council member Paul Rosenstein joined them in Palisades Park.
Last week, Fairmont Miramar Hotel's management and employees ratified a contract granting workers a minimum of $9 an hour and full health benefits for their families.
Reverend Sandie Richards of the Church in Ocean Park, at the forefront of the battle for a living wage in Santa Monica, told the crowd. "From calm to storm, from darkness to light, we have reached the land of milk and honey where workers and management come together," referring to the Mieamar.
Genser reminded the workers not to let themselves be lulled by one victory. "As we celebrate today we have to re-dedicate ourselves to working together," he said.
On behalf of the city, Genser presented Miramar General Manager Karl Buchta with a proclamation commending him for setting a precedent in Santa Monica of living wages, high-quality benefits and a "living contract" "that we hope will serve as a model for Santa Monicaís tourism community."
"We want to make this the best hotel in Santa Monica," Buchta said. "I canít do it by myself. The owners canít do it by themselves. We need all of you to do it. "
The crowd cheered and called out "Si, se puede."