More than 11,000 workers employed by the city of Los Angeles have stated their intentions to strike Tuesday.
The Service Employees International Union 721 (SEIU 721) represents the city’s sanitation workers, street service workers, mechanics and engineers.
President of SEIU Mary Kay Kenry expressed a “shut down” of city services and used the term “solidarity summer” to describe the latest strike to be activated in Los Angeles.
“When bosses refuse to listen to demands, workers WILL shut things down! ” Henry said in a public statement. “Solidarity with over 11,000 Los Angeles city workers who are tired of the lack of respect and are making sure they win a fair, strong contract this year!”
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass responded by saying “The city of Los Angeles is not going to shut down,” due to the strike, but instead announced an expected one-day delay in trash pickup, impacts in parking enforcement, street repair services and recreational centers.
There is also an expected impact on Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) services, although the mayor’s office said there have been efforts to reduce the impact.
Not expected to be impacted are the public safety services from LAPD or LAFD, services from the Los Angeles Public Library, the city’s 311 call center, and homeless and housing services.
According to Bass, there have been ongoing contract negotiations between the city and SEIU 721 since January and said talks have been made in “good faith,” despite union officials claiming otherwise.
“City workers are vital to the function of services for millions of Angelenos every day and to our local economy,” Mayor Bass said in a statement. “They deserve fair contracts and we have been bargaining in good faith with SEIU 721 since January. The City will always be available to make progress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”
The picketing is scheduled to begin at 4 a.m. Tuesday, with a march and rally outside Los Angeles City Hall at 11 a.m., in the midst of the city council meeting.
The strike comes on the heels of a Hollywood double strike between writers and actors. The Writers Guild of America has been on strike since May 1 and recently reopened discussions with TV and film studios represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). The Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) began its strike July 15, also wanting a new contract from the AMPTP.
SEIU 721 has not disclosed specific demands for the contract, but in recent statements has accused the city of “unfair labor practices.” The union has also made mention of wanting safer working environments, better staffing and pay.
Union workers authorized a strike option in May, with a 98% vote in favor.
The strike would be the first by city employees since 1980 and both sides are expected to meet for contract discussions next week.
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