City Workers Work To Shut LA Down For a Full Day! 

City government employees in Los Angeles began their one-day strike as the clock ticked from Monday to Tuesday morning, in a protest over unfair labor practices by negotiators representing the city, as well as failure by the management team to keep negotiating with them.

At 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, the more than 7,000 Los Angeles city workers represented by Service Employees International Union Local 721 began their walkout in protest. The labor union represents workers in many different local government jobs, including lifeguards, custodians, engineers, mechanics, gardeners and traffic officers.

The SEIU’s president, David Green, told the Los Angeles Times that members of the union are at their limit with how many positions are vacant throughout city agencies. This has forced current employees to work way too much overtime.

He said that the one-day strike would send a strong message to the city that workers need to be respected. He said:

“People don’t understand the hard work they do. There’s a lot of unsung heroes in the city. So, I think it’s important that the city, that we have a day to recognize that, and let the city know … they need to respect what we do as city employees.”

While the strike is only supposed to last one day, the effects are expected to be quite widespread.

For example, the Times reported Los Angeles had already planned to close some of its public swimming pools, since lifeguards won’t be on duty. Trash won’t be picked up or emptied throughout the city. All of the animal shelters in the city will also be closed.

Despite the strike, and the strong words from the union president, the city continues to contend that they are willing to sit down at the bargaining table. Mayor Karen Bass issued a statement that tried to shine a positive tone on the day, reminding residents that many services in the city would still be operational.

In the statement, she said:

“The City of Los Angeles is not going to shut down. My office is implementing a plan ensuring no public safety or housing and homelessness emergency operations are impacted by this action. Like I said over the weekend, the city will always be available to make progress with SEIU 721 and we will continue bargaining in good faith.”

Organizers for the SEIU planned a picket line for 4 a.m. outside of Los Angeles International Airport, where roughly 1,000 union members work. There will also be other activities and demonstrations planned for the day not only at the airport, but also at City Hall and other locations throughout the city.

Officials at LAX said they were working to ensure all operations at the airport are “as close to normal as possible” on Tuesday, though they asked all passengers to allow for extra time for their travel, just in case.

This strike is just the latest in labor strifes throughout Los Angeles. The entertainment industry has been reeling from two separate but concurrent strikes going on with the Screen Actors Guild and the writers’ union.