ILWU Local 94 gives boxed lunches to St. Mary Medical Center workers
LONG BEACH — This year would have been the 41st gathering of thousands of union members and supporters from throughout Los Angeles County, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there won’t be a Los Angeles/Long Beach Labor Coalition solidarity march and parade in Wilmington this Labor Day.
However, longshore workers opted to express solidarity with the essential workers on the frontlines fighting the coronavirus. Instead of the holiday march, longshore foreman’s union Local 94 and others that are part of the Los Angeles/Long Beach Labor Coalition will continue the parade’s spirit via a Sept. 7, “Labor of Love” food distribution to help feed those in need. The goal is to distribute food to 3,500 families.
The journey toward this event started in early spring when COVID-19 cases began appearing in Long Beach. Al Galuppo, a trustee for the foreman’s union, decided to use his position to organize and show solidarity with workers in the health field that have always been there for him, his family and his brothers and sisters of Local 94.
“St. Mary is the nearest trauma center to the Port of Long Beach and the staff has helped so many longshoremen over the years, including critical injuries, chemical exposures, heart attacks and other conditions,” Galuppo said. “They even cared for my dad when he was hurt, and that’s something I’ll never forget.
“It seemed natural to give back to the healthcare heroes on the front lines of the COVID-19 virus. They suit up and show up every day to help others. This is the least I could do.”
In partnership with the San Pedro Fish Market, Local 94 delivered the first set of meals to the health care workers at Dignity Health-St. Mary Medical Center in April, and they haven’t stopped giving. The local recently delivered its 650th order of San Pedro Fish Market’s special creole shrimp.
Their long-term goal is to deliver food to every hospital in the area.
“It is an honor to lead a hospital that is so well-regarded by its community,” said Carolyn Caldwell, president of Dignity Health-St. Mary. “The entire staff at St. Mary Medical Center is proud to serve the Long Beach community. Receiving support from the local longshoremen at the port is a reminder that the community stands beside us during these trying times.”