By Rusty Hicks, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO and Cherri Senders, Publisher of Labor 411

It’s the Holiday Season in Southern California. Not only can you count on residents complaining about the weather dipping below 60 degrees, you can also bet on Angelinos and visitors alike getting in the spirit of the holidays – by the beach. It’s a good time of year to kick back and have some fun with friends and family, all while supporting good local jobs.

By Kelly Ross

Los Angeles is the “it” place for the next nine days as half a million visitors descend on the City of Angels for the 2015 Special Olympic World Summer Games, set to open tomorrow. After 16 years of being hosted abroad, the LA sporting event marks the first World Summer Games held in the United States. The opening day extravaganza on July 25 promises to be a not-to-be-missed event.

Los Angeles is packed with sights to see and places to explore, but are they union? Labor 411 has given you a head start on the research with this quick list of must-see venues. Choose from any one of the following union activities and have a blast while supporting good jobs.

1. The Beach
Start your day out right with a relaxing stroll on any of LA’s famous beaches. Dig your toes into the sand and watch the waves roll in.

The Westin

If you’re planning to a visit to the Los Angeles area soon, we have a great list of hotels for you. These hotels not only provide first-class accommodations but they also treat their employees well and provide them with fair wages and good benefits. Each one uses union labor and maintains a collective bargaining agreement with the employees.

The holidays were over and it was time to ship my daughter back to college in Santa Barbara. She’d never been on a train before and her birthday is coming up soon, so I decided to book her a ticket online instead on Amtrak (unionized) as a gift. The round trip ticket cost me around $50 – which is a pretty good deal when you consider driving there and back would run me around 18 gallons of gas. At today’s insane prices that would have come to about $63, maybe more depending on where you buy (actually it shocks me every time I go to the pump. I look up at the price and think, “Really? REALLY?” Urgh.)

Okay. I’ll admit it. My husband and I like the Clippers. You could almost call us fan. We buy tickets to at least one game every year.

I’m not a contrarian. I don’t root for the Clippers just because the Lakers are so dominant. I like the Lakers. I just can’t afford to go to their games.

At our house Thursday night is date night. I’ve been married for more than 20 years and we’ve managed to keep it together with a lot of hard work and a little bit of regular excitement. Well, date night can’t get in the way of my Buy Union! challenge, so we’re going to have to figure this out.

To be honest with you, my husband hasn’t jumped on board with the Buy Union! challenge. He’s a scientist and I’m an activist. We have different priorities, but we respect and support each other on those things that matter to us. So, last night—date night—when I informed him we had to make it a “union night,” he was agreeable.

I have to admit that despite all my cheerleading on this blog that I’ve been a bit nervous about starting my buy union challenge. I’ve been a labor activist for 20 years now and I’m extremely busy… but I also have a life outside of the movement. I’m a mother of two girls, still married and with what little time I have outside of work, I like to spend that with my family and (do my best to) relax.Not always an easy feat.