The hot summer for workers in Los Angeles will get a little hotter Tuesday morning as thousands of workers in the city of Los Angeles are set to get off work for a 24-hour strike. Tuesday’s action marks the first major city workers’ strike in at least 15 years.
SEIU Local 721, a union representing county and city officials throughout Southern California, announced that more than 11,000 Los Angeles City employees, including health workers, heavy-duty mechanics, traffic police officers and engineers, will participate.
The city’s shutdown comes amid a frenzy of organized labor in Los Angeles and across the country, including the first simultaneous strike of Hollywood writers and actors since 1960. Hotel workers in Los Angeles and Orange County have also engaged in intermittent work stoppages since their contracts expired. At about 60 hotels he covers over 15,000 hotel employees.
The union said its employees were on strike for unfair labor practices because the city did not bargain in good faith with union members and had labor practices that restricted the rights of employees and unions.
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“City officials are vital to the daily service function and local economy of millions of Angeleno residents. They deserve a fair deal and we have been negotiating in good faith with SEIU 721 since January. Mayor Karen Bass said in a statement Friday night. “The city is poised for her 24/7, always moving forward.”
The strike is likely to cause some level of disruption at Los Angeles International Airport, the Port of Los Angeles and Los Angeles City Hall, with picketing expected at dozens of other locations, including the Griffith Observatory, according to unions.
Local 721 said its membership also includes more than 1,000 airport workers, including managers, mechanics and shuttle drivers. Most dockworkers are representatives of the International Docks and Warehouses Union, but SEIU 721 represents about 300 dockworkers, including tug captains.
A LAX spokesperson did not immediately respond to questions about how the strike would affect airport operations. Port spokesman Philip Sanfield said he could not comment on potential disruptions at the port because it was not known how many people would participate in the strike. The city’s Department of Public Works, which oversees sanitation and other services, did not immediately respond to questions.
Union ratified a one-year contract SEIU Local 721 Chief of Staff Gilda Valdez said negotiations with the city will take place in November 2022, with the understanding that they will return to the negotiating table shortly after the winter break. Valdez said the city and unions will negotiate a number of “special deals”, or smaller, more specific proposals, once the broader deal is finalized for next year.
But the city “reneged on promises to negotiate these issues,” Valdez said. The union has filed an unfair labor practices complaint with the City of Los Angeles Commission on Employee Relations regarding this issue, along with allegations about several other issues that have been raised in recent months.
“We will not tolerate unfair labor practices at all, even during negotiations. He pointed out that he worked to “We have to send a very strong message to the city.”
The unions will return to the negotiating table with the city the week of August 14 to begin negotiations on a successor to the one-year deal signed in November 2022. The new contract will be negotiated in parallel with the remaining “Special Contract”. Valdes said it’s been on the table since the beginning of the year.