Labor Community Holds May Day Rallies Across Bay Area

May Day marches are planned for Wednesday in support of immigrants' and labor rights

Wednesday, May 1, 2013  |  Updated 5:42 PM PDT
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Damian Trujillo reports on the May Day protests in San Jose.

Damian Trujillo reports on the May Day protests in San Jose.

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The Bay Area labor community is taking to the streets Wednesday to participate in May Day rallies -- some of which will focus on immigrants' rights as the U.S. Senate considers a sweeping immigration reform proposal.

The bill, crafted by the so-called "Gang of Eight" senators, includes a path to citizenship for the country's estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants.

In Oakland, immigrant workers, students, labor unions and a coalition of community groups that are part of the activist organization Oakland Sin Fronteras are rallying at Fruitvale Plaza at 3401 E. 12th St. After the 3 p.m. rally, the group will march to Mi Pueblo Market near Josie De La Cruz Park at 1637 Fruitvale Ave., where rallying will continue at 6 p.m., organizers Isaac Ontiveros said.

"Issues around immigrant rights are inextricably intertwined with workers' rights," Ontiveros said. "That's the binding message of the day."

Overall, he said, the community believes decisions about immigration reform are happening too slowly.

"I think people are calling for swift action and action that is truly comprehensive and doesn't continue to divide families and continue the militarization of the border," Ontiveros said.

In San Jose, as a gesture of solidarity between the immigrant and labor communities, Mi Pueblo grocery workers have been gathering letters stating support for federal immigration reform, and have collected 20,000 so far.

A noon rally at Mi Pueblo company headquarters at 1775 Story Road will highlight the widespread support from the immigrant community, and the grocery company will deliver the letters to local elected officials in the coming weeks, Mi Pueblo spokeswoman Perla Rodriguez said.

"It's an important day to remind people of their civic duty," Rodriguez said.

In San Francisco, a noon anti-capitalism rally in Civic Center will recognize today as International Workers Day. Organizers with the group SF Commune will leave from Polk and McAllister streets and march to at least two buildings at undisclosed locations, which they plan to occupy.

Also in San Francisco, a 2 p.m. march is planned by the American Filipina women's group Gabriela-USA beginning at 24th and Mission streets.

Later this afternoon, a coalition of labor and other activist groups will kick off a march in the Mission District at 3 p.m. and head to Civic Center Plaza, where demonstrators will rally for immigration reform.

In the North Bay, a May Day march focused on immigration reform will begin at 665 Sebastopol Road in Santa Rosa at 3:30 p.m. and continue to Julliard Park for a rally. SashaLekach

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