Union Activists to Walk from Hollywood to the Docks

April 2008

Los Angeles, CA – The nearly 700 UNAC/UHCP members at St. Francis Medical Center are part of a special group of working people. They are among the more than 350,000 union members in Los Angeles County who will be renegotiating their union contracts this year. By working for a strong contract, the UNAC/UHCP members at St. Francis are part of a broad effort to keep the L.A. economy strong and vibrant.

From April 15 to April 17, actors, janitors, longshore workers, and many others along with community supporters will march 28 miles from Hollywood to the docks of San Pedro. These individuals will symbolize over 350,000 workers in L.A. County who, this year, will be fighting to build the middle class or move themselves out of poverty. Joining the historic Hollywood to the Docks march, organized by the L.A. County Federation of Labor, are UNAC/UHCP activists Scott Byington, an intensive care nurse at St. Francis, and Larry Rick, physician assistant at Kaiser South Bay.

"I have experienced firsthand the way diminished access to health care is fraying our communities," says Byington, in an interview posted on the event website. "We need more access to quality health care in our communities. And we need better security now so nurses and doctors can do our jobs: heal people."

Rick says he’s walking 28 miles not only to support his UNAC/UHCP colleagues at St. Francis, but also to thank the L.A. County fire fighters for saving his home during last fall’s devastating blazes. These fire fighters are among the union members negotiating a new contract this year. "As a health care professional, I interact with Los Angeles area public servants all the time," says Rick. "The police, fire fighters and paramedics are there for you when you are in trouble, and I must say ‘thank you’ to them all."

Several nurses from Kaiser South Bay will be staffing a mobile medical van traveling with the walkers, who will stop for rallies and community events along the way, ending up at a huge rally at the docks in San Pedro. UNAC/UHCP activists will give thirsty walkers water at their Tuesday afternoon stop—a street theater play dramatizing the governor’s proposed budget cuts.

Check out the walk route, event schedule and interviews with walkers at www.hollywoodtothedocks.com.