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Thousands of Los Angeles city workers stage 1-day strike

The union representing thousands of city service workers said its members voted overwhelmingly in May to authorize the strike.
Thousands of Los Angeles city workers stage 1-day strike
Posted at 6:23 AM, Aug 08, 2023

Thousands of workers with the city of Los Angeles are walking off the job Tuesday for 24 hours to bring attention to what they claim are unfair labor practices.

More than 11,000 service workers, including traffic officers, sanitation workers and airport employees, want to bring the city to a standstill to address issues like worker vacancies and resources. SEIU Local 721 said its members voted overwhelmingly in May to authorize the strike because of the city's "bad faith" bargaining efforts and repeated violations of employee and union rights.

A union spokesperson claims the city has 900 vacancies in sanitation alone.

"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 Unfair Labor Practice charges with the City of Los Angeles Employee Relations Board," SEIU Local 721 said in a statement. 

This is the first strike by Los Angeles city workers in more than 40 years and comes at a time when about half of the city's 32,000 hospitality workers are also on strike, seeking better wages, improved health care benefits, higher pensions and a less strenuous workload.

SEE MORE: Why are US labor strikes increasing, and what's the future outlook?

Los Angeles Democratic Mayor Karen Bass acknowledged the strike would impact things like traffic operations, trash service, and city parks and pools, but remained firm in saying the city will remain operational. 

"The city of Los Angeles is not going to shut down," Bass said in a statement. "My office is implementing a plan ensuring no public safety or housing and homelessness emergency operations are impacted by this action." 

She added that the city will always be available to continue negotiations with the workers union. The two sides are expected to resume contract talks next week.

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