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Updated Apr 4, 2011 - 7:26 am

AZ labor joins "we are one" rallies nationwide

PHOENIX -- Arizona labor supporters joined solidarity rallies and vigils across the nation Monday.

Paul Castenada, vice chairman of the Maricopa Area Labor Federation, said a luncheon would honor United Farm Workers founder Cesar Chavez and civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"They both fought for civil rights. They stood up for the disenfranchised citizens of the country. And they both stood up for union workers."

He added, "They both fought for the injustices that were going on across the country -- not just in one particular group, but really for everybody."

Castaneda said people across the nation were being asked to stand for the rights of all workers to bargain for a middle-class life and demand their rights to have a voice in the political process and the respect that all people deserve.

"This is a historic day for Dr. King," Castaneda said. "It was 43 years ago he was assassinated on April 4. That's kind of why we chose April 4, along with Cesar Chavez's birthday last Thursday. They just kind of tied in together."

Monday's Phoenix luncheon was at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Hall, 5808 N. Seventh St.

In Tucson, the Pima Area Labor Federation sponsored a 5 p.m. rally at Veinte de Agosto Park, followed by a march to Armory Park.

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