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LAT: Firebrand Named to Top L.A. County Labor Post

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DBoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 11:28 AM
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LAT: Firebrand Named to Top L.A. County Labor Post,0,...


Maria Elena Durazo, the widow of a powerful Los Angeles labor figure and an influential leader in her own right, was named Friday to the top post in the region's largest labor group, becoming the first woman to hold the job and opening a new, possibly contentious chapter in the area's labor-management relations.

Durazo, the new chief of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, has long been known in local labor circles as a firebrand unafraid to employ extreme tactics, a quality that has often improved wages and benefits for her workers but roiled the city's large business community.

She once compared the labor situation in Los Angeles to apartheid in South Africa. Another time she had hotel maids who were embroiled in a contract dispute make up a bed in the middle of Figueroa Street.


Durazo said she greatly prefers to work with businesses that understand the importance of having a middle class in Los Angeles. She argued that giving more money and benefits to workers would ease the crunch on local governments to offer the kind of basic, safety-net services, such as healthcare, that leave them strapped for money.
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