Workers can fix L.A.

From the November-December 2014 issue of News & Letters

Los Angeles—On Oct. 28, several thousand Los Angeles City workers (mostly Latina/o and Blacks) and community supporters marched through downtown to City Hall to protest the city’s proposed 30% cut in workers’ wages and benefits. The cuts included medical coverage, bonuses and retirement benefits, as more and more of the city’s infrastructure deteriorates.

Protesters in high spirits chanted, “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out,” referencing how taxes from workers bailed out the banks in 2008.

Hundreds of signs had the logo “Fix L.A.” and named various occupations including trash pickup, waste water handling, street and sidewalk repairs, vehicle maintenance, building maintenance, janitors, animal shelters, zoo maintenance, landscaping and tree maintenance.

Other signs read: “Fix Our Streets, Not Wall Street,” “Restore L.A. Services Now,” and “SEIU Local 721.” A few of the community-based organizations in support included the Alliance of California Community Empowerment, the Korean Immigrant Workers Advocate, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice, and Strategic Action For a Just Economy.

Speakers included union local presidents and officers, a McDonald’s worker making $10.75 per hour, a truck driver, and an activist for affordable housing. The SEIU speaker said we are out here because nothing has happened at the negotiating table since August. A Black woman unionist stated that a strike was a possibility.

—Basho

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