The union representing workers employed with the city of Los Angeles announced Friday members will head to the picket lines early Tuesday morning for a 24-hour strike to protest what they deemed a refusal to bargain in good faith.
Sanitation workers, heavy duty mechanics, traffic officers, engineers and many more city workers, who are represented by SEIU 721, plan to walk off the job to protest city management and other “unfair labor practices restricting employee and union rights,” according to a statement from the union.
Los Angeles city officials did not immediately respond to requests for comments.
At 11 a.m. Tuesday, workers will meet at City Hall for a march and rally, though picket lines will begin as early as 4 a.m.
“Despite repeated attempts by city workers to engage management in a fair bargaining process, the city has flat-out refused to honor previous agreements at the bargaining table, prompting workers to file charges alleging unfair labor practices with the city of Los Angeles Employee Relations Board,” SEIU 721 officials said in a statement.
In May, city workers represented by SEIU 721 voted overwhelmingly, with 98% approval, to authorize an Unfair Labor Practice strike — a first by city workers in more than 40 years.
“(The strike) comes at a watershed moment for the city, with officials preparing for the World Cup and Olympic Games in the coming years,” SEIU 721 said in a statement. “Both events promise to have long-lasting impacts on the entire Southern California region, with a massive influx of tourists and athletes putting an enormous strain on the city’s frontline services, all on the world stage.”
David Green, president and executive director of SEIU 721, told City News Service that on Tuesday there’s going to be 30-plus strike lines all across the city.
Green said there would be thousands of people just at City Hall late that morning. “We are going to be throughout the entire city striking to send a message that the city’s broken the law. They need to come back to the table, they need to fill these vacancies and they need to listen to the concerns of the public.”
He said that residents might experience a lack of service come Tuesday, whether it’s the “folks that pick up their trash, that protect the harbor, work in parks or that secure LAX.”
Green said these are “frontline public sector employees that serve the city of Los Angeles every day” and “we want to be treated with respect.”
“We want (the city) to acknowledge that these are hardworking folks and to come back to the table,” Green said. “We need these vacancies to be filled, but it’s really important that we send a message to city that this is important for our members.”
Last, Green urged the people of Los Angeles to support them.
“We provide really vital, essential, important public services and we hope they support us,” Green said. “This city is breaking the law. This is why we filed these unfair labor practices. They’ve broken the law and they need to do the right thing.”