By Sheri Williams
Hundreds of healthcare workers from UC Davis Medical Center lined up on May Day for free lunches from food trucks, part of a new effort by the Sacramento Central Labor Council and the Labor Project for Working Families to honor frontline workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Standing in lines six feet apart, nurses, doctors, janitors and other staff members at the hospital received free meals from the different vendors, all paid for by donations collected through the Labor Council, and funds provided by unions.
“These folks have been in the fight and in the trenches since day one,” said SCLC executive director Fabrizio Sasso, who helped organize the event.
Sasso said that the Council intends to make it a weekly happening for different kinds of frontline workers.
“We have union sisters and brothers risking their lives every day during this crisis,” Sasso said. “Whether it’s the postal workers bringing our packages and our mail, or grocery workers keeping the shelves stocked, our critical work has now become dangerous work and we need to let them know we stand with them in solidary and respect and honor their bravery.”
May Day, also known as International Workers Day, is an annual celebration of Labor and those who have fallen during the year. This year, it also honors the fight of workers around the globe who are risking their lives during the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s vital this May Day to take a moment to stop and appreciate what workers are doing, the sacrifices and courage you see on the job every day,” said Sasso. “I am so grateful for these working heroes and the spirit of solidary and resilience they bring with them.”
So many workers came to the May Day event that the trucks weren’t able to serve them all. The Labor Council quickly drew support from the Sacramento Republic soccer team and state Senator Richard Pan, who chipped in donations to ensure no workers were turned away.
“We are here to basically express our thanks and appreciate for all our workers, our essential workers who are on the front lines,” said Pan. “Not only here at UC Davis, but [at] the grocery stores, the people driving the trucks.”
Pan added that for workers not on the front lines, it remains critical to practice social distancing to protect them, especially as the economy re-opens.
“It’s important that each of us are on the front lines of slowing this disease,” said Pan.
State Assembly member Keven McCarty also joined the event to show support.
“We want to be here to respect and honor our frontline workers,” McCarty said. “We want to honor Labor on May Day and keep our workers safe.”
The Sacramento Central Labor Council is accepting tax-deductible donations for future events. More information can be found on its website or Facebook page.
“We are asking folks to donate $10 dollars if they are able,” said Sasso. “That buys a meal for a worker, and reminds us all of the hard jobs they are doing to keep us all safe.”