The South County Labor organization honored Port Maritime Council of Southern California President Larry Barragan with its “Dan Foley Outstanding Labor Leader Award” on May 20.
South County Labor is a coalition of trade unions formed in 1977 to promote the interests of working people and their families in southern Los Angeles County, CA – especially those workers in and around the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. For decades, it has organized with the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Labor Coalition the largest Labor Day parade west of the Mississippi River. Brother Barragan has been the chair of the harbor labor coalition since 2016.
Barragan is a rank-and-file member of Steel Workers (USW) Local 675. The “proud” third generation Mexican-American became a union member in 1990, joining the old Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union Local 128 (which later merged into the MTD-affiliated USW). He is a shop steward and chair of the local’s Workman’s Committee. He became a delegate to the Southern California PMC in 2000, and rose through the ranks to become its president in 2018.
During the covid pandemic of 2020-21, Barragan oversaw the redirection of Labor Day activities to create a drive-through food bank for union members and their families affected by work shutdowns. Thousands of families benefited from this relief effort.
“I have experienced the American Dream because of the Labor Movement,” Barragan told the more than 200 attending the breakfast ceremony at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 11 training institute in Commerce, CA. After noting apprentices in nearby classrooms, he urged the audience “to mentor the young people. That’s our future. We have to make the world better for you guys.”
Within the crowd saluting Barragan were members from MTD affiliates AFSCME, AFT, CWA, IAMAW, IBEW, IW, SIU, SMART and UA.